A comrade of long standing has just received word his book has sold to a New York publisher. This, I believe, is the time for a celebratory libation. We drive down to the very center of the city and approach a building with a somewhat garish facade constructed during an era of capitalist irrational exuberance, the 1880s. There are several stout fellows guarding the entrance to Solero (910 Prairie, 713-227-2665). After paying the female comrade in charge of the cash box a $10 cover, each, we finally ascend a narrow staircase up to the second floor, where the Czar Bar is located (713-227-0459). There is a lot of red in the decor and lighting, which is reassuring because the name of the bar seems to be in some way glorifying the discredited era of feudal autocratic misrule. I ask the young comrade barman, Alejandro Lloret, to prepare me a special beverage, one unique to this establishment. The Czar Bar boasts 71 varieties of vodka, so I assume a vodka-based "cocktail" will be made. I am not disappointed. Comrade Lloret presents me with a beverage golden in the top half of the broadly V-shaped glass, with a pinkish tinge to the bottom half. A tinge of pink under the gold! A very amusing allusion to the activities of the Comintern! He then tells me the drink is named the Disco Volante, after the private yacht owned by a capitalist arch-criminal in one of the books of adventures featuring imperialist superagent James Bond.
The Czar Bar's Disco Volante: The drink is very cool, and like a spring zephyr over Lake Baikal. Not at all like a tooth glass filled with warm vodka, our standard toasting instrument. I am pleased with the "cocktail," which is more than I can say about the hackwork of the artist who copied two very fine Soviet cinema posters onto the walls and garbled the Cyrillic text. In Comrade Stalin's time, such lapses would not have been tolerated. Party card on the table! Five years!
One and a half shots Stolichnaya orange vodka
De Kuyper Peachtree Schnapps
Rose's grenadine syrup
Veuve du Vernay champagne
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Take a martini glass and mix the vodka with two squirts of mango puree, a splash of schnapps and orange juice, and a dash of syrup. Top the glass with the champagne and garnish with one large ripe strawberry split over the rim. Serve while making a conspiratorial wink to a charming female comrade.