It is the 83rd anniversary of the storming of the Winter Palace in Petrograd, November 7, New Style, the day the Soviet Union was born. It seems a fitting day to lift a glass to the Great October Socialist Revolution. After all, this was a very big holiday on one-sixth of the world's surface for some 75 years.
I venture out west, past the giant houses of capitalist exploiters, to Stoli Grill (13148 Memorial Drive, 713-932-1336). There, I am greeted by a live band playing Frank Sinatra songs and, at the bar, my old comrades Volodya and Yura. I ask the bartender, Rudy "Rudik" Flores, if he has a cocktail for this holiday.
"Just the thing," Rudy replies, as if he was waiting for this request. "The KGB."
Rudy hoists a bottle here and there and presents me with a creamy-looking concoction over ice cubes in a standard old- fashioned glass. It doesn't look like homemade vodka that's been distilled through a bathroom water heater. I take a sip. It doesn't seem to contain any vodka at all, but it is smooth and tasty, with the suggestion of ripe citrus fruit. How is this a drink that captures the immortal spirit of the founder of the KGB, Felix Dzerzhinsky? Or even the current president of the Russian Federation and former KGB grunt Vladimir Putin? I drink, and soon these questions do not trouble me.