It may seem like a visit to Russia has to be accompanied by the hardcore drinking of unpurified vodka shots. Not necessarily. The St Petersburg bar scene is thriving nowadays with creative cocktail creations – exciting mixtures of familiar alcohol with the most unexpected ingredients. Here are some of our top picks.
Orthodox stays true to Russian traditions, making drinks inspired by local liqueurs and culture. The menu has sections named after famous Russians, and the cocktails within them are therefore connected to these personalities. See if you can spot all the connections! The White Nights cocktail is found in the Dostoevsky section, named after one of his novels. With a base of vodka, this creation is spiced up with apple shrub, ginger, honey and pickle juice.
Geography Bar has become a well-known establishment on the popular Rubinshteyna bar street. A stylish bar and restaurant, it is famous for its creative cocktails. Of the house staples available all year long, the Prague Tramp is the perfect combination of taste and presentation. A risky mix of absinthe and vodka topped with lemon, basil, sage, and apple juice gives the cocktail a rough, unkempt edge. It’s served in a beaker-shaped bottle wrapped in brown paper.
The name of Tesla Bar is no coincidence – it pays homage to the Serbian inventor. All the cocktails on the menu are creatively made to tell a story, be it of a famous person or a concept. The Happy Hardcore cocktail is a reference to a genre of music that was popularised in the 1990s. The cocktail is a happy mix of fairy floss, colourful popcorn and marshmallows that clash with the strong taste of alcohol and complement it.
Taking up the former location of a shop called Tsvetochki, four friends started their own bar that has enjoyed success in St Petersburg for many years now. The cocktail menu was created through lots of experimentation, based on trial and error. The current menu has over 70 drinks and, of course, specials that appear from time to time. For some local flavours, try the Dovlatov cocktail, named after the writer who used to live in a building next door to the bar. It’s a spicy mixture of Sichuan pepper, basil and vodka – a signature cocktail at Tsvetochki.
Head over to Tipplers for some creative cocktail fun. The bartenders here are very friendly and will happily surprise you with a cocktail they concoct on the spot. If you’re not in the mood for experimentation, a safer choice is to go for one of their specials. The smoking hot GreenDay is served with a burning pine cone on top. The cocktail itself is pleasantly refreshing: vodka, orange liqueur, apple and rosemary all mixed in with thyme syrup.
Buddha Bar is renowned for stylish interiors and deep house music all with an Asian touch. The drinks, and especially cocktails, are inspired by the mystical Orient. Each Buddha Bar around the world has a collection of signature cocktails, and St Petersburg is no exception. Drink your way through the list, but give some proper attention to the Pop Corn China Sour. Based on a whiskey that’s been infused with popcorn, the refreshing additions of ginger and kaffir lime homemade syrups, lime juice, and pineapple round out the flavours.
A daiquiri would seem the obvious choice at a daiquiri bar, but there are definitely many other exciting options to try here – over 300 to be precise. All of the bartenders at Daiquiri are highly qualified. Their creations have been presented at bartending competitions and have won several awards. Scroll through the award-winning cocktail list to find The Name of the Rose cocktail, which was created by the bar’s manager and has found its way overseas. True to its name, the cocktail contains rose syrup with tequila, passion fruit, vanilla foam and a rose petal.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.