Grand Hotel Europe Launches Vodka Experience

Russians are famed for many things, but arguably none more so than their love of vodka. This tipple is said to have been first created in St Petersburg. To celebrate this long-standing Russian love, The Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg has created a vodka experience where guests will learn how to pair the Russian spirit with food, have a cocktail masterclass with the hotel’s head barman, and indulge in specially created vodka spa treatments.

Grand Hotel Europe St Petersburg
Grand Hotel Europe St Petersburg

First up comes the food pairing. The hotel’s executive chef will take vodka enthusiasts through the classic accompaniments of Astrakhan Beluga Caviar, marinated salmon, and strawberries with icing sugar. Once guests have let the knowledge seep in, they’ll then spend an evenign with the sommelier and learn how to create some of the most popular vodka based cocktails  including, a Dirty Martini, Bloody Mary, Moscow Mule and White Russian. To finish, guests will be pampered with one of two vodka-based spa treatments designed to rid the body of unwanted toxins – the welcome to Russia vodka scrub or the vodka massage.

With the hotel’s lobby bar serving no less than 22 types of vodka, the Grand Hotel Europe really is the place to head if you want to indulge in a lengthy Russian session of vodka imbibing and zakuski devouring, or just buff up your knowledge of the traditional tipple.

The vodka experience is priced from £72 per person, and nightly rates start from £272 for a superior king room per night including taxes. Visit for more information.

Related Images:

Babushka Bar/Restaurant in Hawthorn, Melbourne

There’s a great new bar/restaurant called Babushka that has opened up in Hawthorn in Melbourne. This casual watering hole Babushka was created by David Christianson (Upfront Concepts), Grant Smilie (Ponyfish Island, 360 Agency) and Mark Douglass (Mark Douglass Design).


The venue has a main room with a rich assortment of chairs, pews, stools and tables of all sizes. There are decorative birch tree branches and forest-inspired wallpaper to give that Russian element. There are three additional private rooms and a picnic outdoor area complete with traditional stripy deck chairs. Kitsch but fun! Personally I love the dark red walls and communal table of the pictured room above – there’s something very Soviet about it and is bringing back those memories of studying at SSEES.

As the rich wealth of Russian food appears to have escaped the Aussies for the time being, the menu revolves around the humble potato for which East European cuisine is somewhat unfairly renowned. However, I am assured that dishes such as the potato pizza are delicious. Naturally there is also From Russia with Love vodka on hand. Unfortunately for the Aussies this place is a pop-up so get there while you still can and have a shot for me!

Babushka, on the corner of Power Street and Burwood Road, Hawthorn, Melbourne

Tues-Fri 5pm-1am, Sat 2pm-1am, Sun 2pm-11.30


(Though it’s also worth checking out their Facebook page – these guys clearly have a great sense of humour!)

Related Images:

Zubrówka Pop-up Cinema at Browns Courtroom

The Frisky Bison
The Frisky Bison

I am a huge fan of Zubrówka. I first experienced it at Na Zdrowie (now The Polish Bar) in Holborn while studying at university. Since then it’s become one of my favourite tipples so I was terribly excited to hear that the premium Polish vodka brand is opening  a Pop-Up Cinema at Browns Courtrooms in Covent Garden.

Zubrówka has teamed up with Appletiser to create the Frisky Bison which can be enjoyed while watching iconic films such as: Cocktail, Point Break, Animal House and Rebel without a Cause. Tickets cost £15 and include a complimentary Frisky Bison and Bison Bites. There are just 70 seats available each night so make sure you book your ticket before they all run out!

Zubrówka Pop-up Cinema at Browns Courtoom runs from 26th to 29th July 2011.

For more information visit

Related Images:

Russian Standard Vodka at Taste of London

Bloody MashaAt this year’s Taste of London Festival in Regent’s Park (16th to 19th June) you can discover the delights of Russian vodka at the Russian Standard Cocktail Bar.

Eager gourmands are invited to explore Russian Standard’s House of Vodka with two mixology master classes each day, run by leading mixologist Glen Hooper who has over 10 years experience in the heart of London’s cocktail culture. Glen has travelled the world and brings with him a wealth of mixology expertise to share with the attendees. The sessions will explain how to truly taste and enjoy premium vodka; educating participants about the key differences between Russian Standard Vodka, Russian Standard Gold and Russian Standard Platinum.

In each class, Glen will elaborate on the history and heritage of Russian Standard Vodka, including an explanation of Dmitri Mendeleev’s original vodka formula created for the Tsars in 1894. True foodies will also be able to learn about Russian zakuski, small plates served on the arrival of guests alongside vodka and a bubbling samovar.

For thirsty visitors keen to kick back with a cocktail, a choice of five refreshing Russian Standard Vodka drinks will be on offer to purchase by the glass or pitcher. These include the Bolshoi Basil, a unique and refreshing tall drink, and the Appleflower, a summery cocktail featuring delicate elderflower and apple flavours. Sunday festival goers will also be able to treat themselves to a Classic Russian Bloody Mary, the perfect way to ease into a sunny day spent sampling the festival’s premium food and drink.

The Russian Standard Vodka bar will be at stand S5, which is near the main entrance to Taste of London.

Advance tickets for Taste of London start from £23.50, while tickets on the day start from £26. Visit to secure your ticket today.

Related Images:

Russia’s Maslenitsa Festival in London’s Trafalgar Square

This weekend, should one have a rabid appetite for sampling some Russian culture, we at Charlotte’s VVeb recommend taking a trip to the annual Russian Maslenitsa Festival taking place on Sunday 6th March in London’s Trafalgar Square.  The annual festival is set to be bigger and better than ever before and will feature a Russian Standard Vodka bar and traditional Russian delicacies to taste.

Trafalgar Square

Maslenitsa is also known as Butter Week and blinis are traditionally eaten during this period.  The celebration is held just before Lent, however, its roots are pagan as it heralds the coming of spring.  As Russia’s national drink is vodka we can expect that lots of lovely blinis will be washed down with a chilled tipple or two at the festival!

Plus for music lovers there will be fabulous performances by Moral Codex, Bayan Mix, Ludmila Rumina and Anastasia Stostkaya.  We can’t wait!

Russian Maslenitsa Festival in London’s Trafalgar Square

Nearest Tube: Charing Cross

12.30pm – 7pm

Entry is free

Related Images:

Moravian Babička Vodka Available at Harvey Nichols

The babičkas of 16th century Moravia were wise old women who were revered by their communities for having mystical healing powers and practising the art of witchcraft.  It was the babičkas who freely used the essence thujone which is extracted from wormwood, an aromatic plant of the Old World, in their potions and charms for its reputation of enhancing well-being, sensuality, creativity and love, not to mention its mildly hallucinatory effects.  This history has laid the foundations for the new Babička vodka, the first ever wormwood vodka.  A green thujone-ometer is on every Babicka bottle to mark the amount of this wormwood extract that has been infused with the highest quality vodka, giving Babička its unique taste.  Plus, the vodka is packaged in a contemporary interpreation of the medicine bottles of old – so it really embraces its cultural heritage.


Babička is available from Harvey Nichols priced at £35.

For more information visit

Related Images:

Treat Your Loved One to a GrasovKiss on Valentine’s Day

With what seems like an eternal recession upon us, it is of little surprise to hear that many couples are planning on spending their Valentine’s night at home.  However, I think this is a far better option!  Normally, venues are crammed full to the brim and prices are unfairly increased.  Plus, at home you can choose exactly what you want to eat or drink.  Talking of which… this year why not whip up a GrasovKiss cocktail using Grasovka Bison Grass Vodka?

GrasovKiss Cocktail

It’s the perfect Valentine aperitif and it’s quick and easy to make, simply follow this delicious recipe…


2 oz Grasovka Bison Grass Vodka
1 oz raspberry syrup
¼ oz lemon juice
Dash of apple juice
Dash of lemonade

Serve over ice in a highball glass and for that extra romantic twist, float a rose petal on top or garnish with a few raspberries

Related Images:

Cocktail of the Month: Grey Goose Orange Blush

Grey Goose Orange Blush

Grey Goose Orange BlushSo while most people are grappling with a detox in January, I wonder where the fun in that is!  This January I’m indulging in a Grey Goose Orange Blush using Grey Goose l’Orange vodka with orange liqueur.  Here’s how to make this delightful cocktail…


35ml Grey Goose L’Orange

10ml orange liqueur

Tonic water


Mix the Grey Goose vodka with orange liqueur and ice, then balance by topping with tonic

Serve with lemon wedges to taste

Related Images:

RSV’s Fountain of Youth – A New Year, A New You

Russian Standard Vodka Fountain of Youth

Forget detoxing this January, it’s a miserable enough month as it is to deny yourself the pleasure of a good cocktail.  However, if you are being lured to the dark side, then never fear, a fabulous Fountain of Youth cocktail, created by Russian Standard Vodka, may be the answer to your prayers.

Russian Standard Vodka Fountain of Youth

This fresh and fruity cocktail includes delicious pomegranate juice which contains three times more antioxidants than green tea or red wine.  Drinking pomegranate juice helps keep blood vessels from hardening, bring more oxygen to the heart and prevents bad cholesterol from being deposited on the arteries.

So how do you make this magic drink I hear you ask!  Just follow the steps below…


35ml / 1.7 fl oz Russian Standard
40ml / 2 fl oz Pomegranate juice, fresh squeezed where available
20g / 0.7 oz thinly sliced ginger


Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice

Double strain and pour into a martini glass

Garnish with a piece of ginger and pass a mint leaf around the glass rim

Related Images:

No Fuss Pre-mixed Smirnoff Cocktails for Your Winter Party

SmirnoffThis winter get the party started with a range of pre-mixed Smirnoff vodka cocktails including Mojito, Cosmopolitan and Caipiroska.  Smirnoff really has taken the fuss and mess of out preparing cocktails so you can enjoy a delicious tasting drink anywhere you please, whether it’s pre-dinner drinks at home or a friend’s cocktail party .

Smirnoff Cocktails should be kept in the fridge – so if a friend should unexpectedly drop by, you’ll always have something chilled and delicious, without compromising on taste or style, to offer them.

About the cocktails…

Vodka Mojito – A perfectly balanced blend of crisp clean Smirnoff Vodka, Kaffir Lime Liquor and natural mint flavour.
Grand Cosmopolitan – A professional shake of crisp clean Smirnoff Vodka, Triple Sec Liquor and a splash of Cranberry juice.
Caipiroska – A refreshing sweet and tangy mix of crisp clean Smirnoff Vodka, fresh lime and sugar.

Serving Suggestions
• Keep your Smirnoff Cocktails in the fridge and simply shake before serving
• For the perfect Smirnoff Cosmopolitan simply pour the drink straight into a chilled martini glass (quick tip – just fill the martini glass with ice for a few minutes to chill down the glass, then throw the ice away and pour the drink into the glass)
• The Smirnoff Mojito should be served in a hi ball glass and garnished with a wedge of fresh lime and a handful of mint
• The Smirnoff Caipiroska should be poured straight into a rocks glass and garnished with a wedge of fresh lime
• Sip slowly and enjoy

Smirnoff Cocktails are available for RRP £13.99 at selected stores of Morrisons, Tesco, Co-op and Asda.

For more information about Smirnoff Cocktails visit

Related Images: