Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
A New Vodka
A sample of a new ultra premium spirit arrived at our office. It is a vodka. Vodka takes its name from the word “voda” which is Russian for water.
This new spirit is called Ovo Vodka and is produced and bottled in Jacksonville, Florida. Made from 100% American corn distilled 6 times for a purer taste, it is filtered with activated carbon for a clean flavor.
And it is, as far as I’m concerned, very clean and delightful. I use it to make vodka martinis. Sometimes I use green olives stuffer with an almond, or pickled onion as fruit but most times I pass on the fruit.
I became enamored of vodka martinis in the very early ‘60s when I lived in Paris.
At Mme. Rachou’s Rive Gauche “guest house” where I stayed for a while, one of my neighbors – she had a room three doors down the corridor from mine – Tati (Tatiana) Feodorovna, being of Russian background, drunk vodka much more than pastis, which was the drink favored in Parisian bistros instead of cocktails.
Tati was an actress; she was very well educated and fully trilingual (French, Russian, English). She was staying “temporarily” at the hotel in anticipation of a career improvement when she could move from secondary roles to ingénue. To make pocket money in between acting roles she worked as a runway model and also as an artist’s model. I first met her at the École des Arts Décoratifs where I was studying at the time to become a painter; she was working as a live model at one of the classes I was taking.
Since we lived in the same rundown Left Bank hotel, together with many other artists – the hotel eventually became known as the “Beat Hotel” where numerous American ex-pat poets and writers lived – we became friendly and she would sit with me for drinks at the bistro downstairs when we had money, or at her or my room with bottles we smuggled in, when we were broke.
She drunk either vodka shots straight or vodka martinis, which I liked better. I now drink martinis, since I did not like plain vodka, especially vodka shots.
I learned how to make exceptional martinis from Tom Lehrer’s song “Bright College Days” where he finishes with the recipe for a properly made martini: “six parts gin, to one part vermouth.” I abhor gin and I figured that vodka would work just as well!
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