Gypsy Queen Cocktail - Lessons on Vodka

After prohibition a number of Russian and Polish bars and restaurants that catered to immigrant populations in America began (or continued more openly) serving traditional spirits along with their traditional cuisine. Vodka being the spirit of choice for many, it is no wonder that cocktails were born behind these bars that featured the spirit. The Gypsy Queen, recently unearthed by David Wondrich, was created at the Russian Tea Room and can be found in the book “Russian Dishes and What They Are Made Of”. Simon Ford of Absolut Vodka demonstrates how to make the Gypsy Queen and discusses the early history of Vodka in cocktails.


2 oz Absolut Vodka

1 oz Benedictine

2 dashes Angostura Bitters


Stir with ice.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist.


blair frodelius 24 Mar 2011
8:31 am


What are your feelings about keeping vodka in the freezer when it is used in a cocktail?  Would the end result be roughly the same if you added some chilled water to dilute the drink?


Blair Frodelius

Robert Hess 27 Mar 2011
7:26 am

Blair, while I’ll let Simon speak for himself, I suspect his answser will be similar to mine.

Keeping vodka in the freezer is something I’d only do if you want to use it for “sipping” vodka and not for cocktails. Folks who put their cocktail vodka in the freezer are doing so since they think this will allow them to make a cold drink without needing to use as much (if any) ice, and thus no “dilution” of the alcohol, and thus a “stronger” drink. (as I know you know) this is wrong in so many ways. For one thing, two ounces of ice cold vodka has as much alcohol in it as two ounces of room temp vodka that has been chilled with ice. There is just more “liquid” overall in the drink that has been chilled with ice. And this liquid is a good thing, becauuse it softens the raw burn of the vodka (or any spirit) making the drink more dignified and allows you to taste the overall flavors better.

So except for the frat boys who don’t care about flavor and quality, just the alcohol, you should avoid keeping your cocktail spirits in the freezer (but keep your vermouth in the fridge to help them keep longer!).

However…. if by chance you are keeping your sipping vodka in the freezer, and are wanting to make a cocktial with them, then yes, I would recommend adding a splash of water to it in order to make up for the water that would otherwise have been added with the ice meltage.


photococktail 19 May 2011
1:09 pm

Lovely show, these Lessons on Vodka, I’ll definitely try the Gysy Queen

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