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The Russian Spring Punch is a delightful highball cocktail that combines the boldness of vodka with the sweet creme de cassis liqueur and holds a distinguished place in the International Bartenders Association’s (IBA) coveted New Era Drinks category.
This contemporary cocktail has a fascinating origin story, tracing its roots to the creative genius of London barman Dick Bradsell in the 1980s. Bradsell, though unable to recall the exact bar where inspiration struck, vividly recounts crafting the recipe for a group of friends seeking an economically savvy solution for their cocktail party. Embracing the Russian spirit with vodka as its base, and drawing inspiration from the classic Tom Collins, a quintessential springtime cocktail, the Russian Spring Punch was born.
The genesis of the Russian Spring Punch is intertwined with a pragmatic approach to hosting a cocktail party without breaking the bank. Dick Bradsell, recognizing the financial constraints of his friends, ingeniously curated a recipe that showcased affordability without compromising on sophistication. By leveraging accessible yet premium ingredients like vodka, cassis, and lemon juice, Bradsell demonstrated that elegance need not be sacrificed in the pursuit of economic practicality.
The nomenclature of the Russian Spring Punch is a nod to its primary spirit, vodka, which finds its roots in Russian tradition. The infusion of Russian vodka imparts a distinct character to the cocktail, marrying the spirit’s boldness with the effervescence of the other ingredients.
After making and tasting this cocktail, we can say that the robustness of vodka provides a solid foundation, while the sweetness and richness of cassis add depth and complexity. The zesty kick from fresh lemon juice contributes a refreshing twist, elevating the cocktail to a multifaceted sensory experience. When paired with the effervescence of sparkling wine, the Russian Spring Punch becomes a delightful effusion of taste, making it a standout choice for those seeking a balanced and flavorful highball.
Beyond its origins in 1980s London, the Russian Spring Punch has transcended geographical boundaries to become a globally recognized and beloved cocktail. Bartenders worldwide have embraced the elegance and simplicity of this cocktail, incorporating it into their repertoires to cater to the evolving tastes of contemporary cocktail enthusiasts. Its recognition by the IBA further solidifies its status as a contemporary classic, inviting both seasoned mixologists and enthusiastic home bartenders to explore the nuances of its composition.
25 ml vodka
25 ml fresh lemon juice
15 ml creme de cassis
10 ml simple syrup
Sparkling wine, to top
Garnish: fresh seasonal berries
Add the vodka, creme de cassis, simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice into a cocktail shaker.
Add ice and shake for 10-15 seconds, until chilled.
Strain into a highball glass.
Top up with sparkling wine.
Garnish with fresh seasonal berries.