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Kate Cohen

Katecohen.com

11/08/2001 From Knoxville to the Kremlin there's only one Jewel.

My sister and Dr. X search the Power Capitals Western Civilization for vodka perfection. They find it! She tells us where!

Dispatch from our sister-correspondent Tracey:

I love Vodka

I had never given vodka much thought until about two years ago when I friend "turned me on" to a vodka martini (half Ketel One, half Bombay Sapphire gin). This was a most excellent variation to the traditional martini, which I only drank because it made me feel Cosmopolitan and the glass was sexy. The vodka martini is now the only martini I will drink, preferably with a blue cheese-stuffed olive (also most excellent).

When I started to plan my trip to New York City, my friend, Dr. X, and I planned to go in search of the perfect vodka martini. (I mean where else should one look, but in Manhattan?) We actually started our quest in Washington D.C, but found their martini's to be pretty much the same as Knoxville, although they did have the ambiance of being Political World Power Capital going for them.

We arrive in New York City, with reservation for that very night at the Firebird Restuarant. There are two Firebird locations, NYC and London...we felt very Cosmo already. Upon arrival in this St. Petersberg-esque decor lounge, we ordered our first round. We asked for a recommendation for their best vodka, which was emphatically announced as "The Jewel of Russia". With a name like that I figured you couldn't go wrong, so Dr. X ordered a martini made with "The Jewel" and I, as a pseudo-vodkaphile purist ordered it straight--no ice. My vodka came in a delicate tiny fluted glass (looked like a mini-Champaign flute), properly chilled and frosty looking, yummy.

From the first glorious sip I knew I had to covet bottles of this stuff and sparingly ration it out to only my best of friends. When we asked the waiter-of-Russian-extraction where we could get this "Jewel" he quipped that "you cannot", as if it were an insult to have asked. He told us that there is only one distributor in the United States and they don't sell to liqor stores. So the snooty waiter-of-Russian-extraction became the personification of the thwarted quest, even before I had began! Dr. X and I decided that we hated this comminist, (maybe socialist) pig so-and-so and made fun of him the remainder of the evening. I even went one-on-one with him in the arrangement of many plated of goodies on the table. We positioned as if we were playing chess, and he was determined to put things where he wanted - snort!

After my first "Jewel", I sampled some other vodkas, which were good, but in comparison "potato water". I ordered a final "Jewel" thinking that this would be my last for some time and savored the magnificence. We left the Firebird excited about our "ultimate" vodka experience having happen so soon upon our arrival. (By the way, the Firebird is a must-try. The food is fantastic, even though the waiters are commies.)

The rest of the NYC trip was fairly uneventful as it relates to "The Quest". Suffice it to say, we did drink our way across Manhattan, and if I had been lactating, my baby would have been drinking white-Russians for a week.

Upon returning home, Dr. X and I decided to put Vlad the Destroyer's (our waiter's nickname) ascertain to the test. We got online and found " The Jewel of Russia " website! Most excellent. We found that the distributor did sell to liquor stores, and that there were tens of stores right there in NYC that we missed the opportunity to patronize. Zut alors! "The Jewel" is not distributed to every state, so we had to find a shipping destination to which we had a connection. Dr. X was traveling to Michigan for Thanksgiving, so we found a liquor store (from the "Jewel" list on their website) that would ship to Detroit, MI. The deal has been made, money has changed hands and we secretly now, await the delivery of our contraband. It will be a most excellent Holiday season indeed!