The Grand Duchess
While we are on the subject of vodka, here is another vodka-based cocktail from David Embury’s book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. This drink is very similar to the Cossack Cocktail, but substituting rum for the cognac and grenadine for the simple syrup.
The name is a throwaway; obviously chosen because it evokes things Russian almost as well as does Cossack. Interestingly, Grand Duchess is a rather inaccurate English translation of Grand Princess.
While one might have a romantic (if brutal) vision of Cossacks galloping across the frozen steppes (usually hellbent on destroying something), I cannot see the words Grand Duchess without thinking of the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II, brutally murdered with their brother, Alexei, their parents, and retainers in 1918. Going back through the line, I have a hard time finding a Grand Duchess without a tragic story: unhappy marriages, debilitating diseases, assassinations, war, infidelity, purerperal fever, smallpox.
My, that’s brought the tone down, hasn’t it? Let us get on with the drink, shall we?
The Grand Duchess Cocktail
1 oz Vodka
1 oz Rum
½ oz Lime Juice (fresh)
½ oz Grenadine
Shake with ice until cold and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
I have adjusted the proportions slightly as the original was a bit shy on the booze and long on the lime. A rum with some color should be used here since it is really the only flavor profile to suggest you are drinking a cocktail. The vodka is going to cut the rum, so you could go pretty dark.
Here’s to all those unhappy Grand Duchesses. We are not to see their like again.