"Mal-A-Vitch" by Ed Moses, from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (photo by CKDH)
As mentioned in a previous post, I visited Red Square in Mandalay Bay as part of my latest Las Vegas misadventures. For those of you who may not be familiar, Red Square is a bar & restaurant with an ostensibly post-communist Muscovite flavor; a giant, headless, faux-guano adorned statue of Vladimir Lenin stands guard near the main entrance. It is best known for two features: slabs of ice built into the bar, and a two-story high vodka freezer complete with a dining/meeting room and private vodka lockers available for lease. There is a full restaurant menu, and the food turned out to be surprisingly good, though not at all Russian besides the caviar. No matter; food wasn’t the point of our visit.
I am not much of a vodka drinker. My taste in spirits tends towards the bolder: scotch, especially neat or with ice, and bourbon, rum, and even tequila when mixed. There’s nothing wrong with vodka, mind you, but it’s not typically something I’m ever going to seek out; however, since I was with a group of vodka drinkers, including Mrs. CKDH and Mr. J, in an establishment known for its extensive vodka selection, vodka would be the drink of the night.
Red Square offers an assortment of four-shot vodka flights — all Russian, all New World, all Really Freakin’ Expensive (my description, not theirs), among others. After some discussion, Mr. J and I decided to split the following flights:
Both of the flights were delivered in frozen red blocks with indents for the individual shot glasses (as CKDH, Jr., pointed out: ”Hey, it looks like a ‘hard eight’”). The first shots in each flights were indicated by a stirrer placed in the glass, with the rest of the flight progressing clockwise from there.
All were enjoyable. I was surprised at how distinct the potato vodkas were from the others. My favorites happened to be the three Polish vodkas: all were balanced and went down very easily. The Russian vodkas — especially the Youri Dolgoruki and Zyr –all had a much more noticeable punch up front, but still finished smooth.
For someone without anything but a casual knowledge of vodka, it was a good education. I’ll be back for more lessons as soon as possible.
Hard Eight: two sets of Red Square vodka tasting flights