The Best Cocktails in St Petersburg

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Anastasiia Ilina

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.

1. White Nights at Orthodox Bar

Bar, Pub Grub

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.

2. Prague Tramp at Geography Bar

Bar, Pub Grub

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.

3. Happy Hardcore at Tesla Bar

Bar, European

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.

4. Dovlatov at Tsvetochki Bar

Bar, Pub Grub

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.

5. GreenDay at Tipplers Bar

Bar, Pub Grub

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.

6. Pop Corn China Sour at Buddha Bar

Restaurant, Asian

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.

7. The Name of the Rose at Daiquiri Bar

Bar, Cocktail Bar, European

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.

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