A few years ago, while on a wine trip to Napa, we stopped at a popular wine shop in San Francisco’s Ghiradelli Square. One of the employees was excited about a new “item” and a yet-to-be wine bar status. “Under the table” he brought us a little taste…of God knows what. I thought it was a Port, my pals thought it might be a red wine. Unveiled, it was to be our first taste of: The Jewel of Russia Vodka Berry Infusion. This was my first taste of a flavored vodka stateside since Oktoberfest, and I was sure it was new for my pals. The proprietor suggested we serve it over ice with lemon wedge. We bought some, and we did.
Served up for neighbors, as an aperitif for pals, on a hot summer day, it was our go-to cocktail…until others crowded it into the back or our ever-growing liquor cabinet.
Fast forward a few years, finding the Jewel of Russia in stores wasn’t easy. We made trips to the Wine House in West Los Angeles just for a fix. We ordered it. We gifted it. Tonight, I found it in the recesses of my liquor cabinet…and had to toss it as it didn’t do well back there with as I saw chunks of sediment floating through it. Like any other forgotten alcohol or cocktail, I say, bring it back dear friends. The memories, the taste, it’s the same. Only we have aged. (Or that infused bottle of liquor, if opened and left unfinished for a decade while the palate wandered, please just see it as a reminder to buy a new one.)