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CHOPIN VODKA PRESENTS

Entertaining Notes - featuring Robert Franklin



Entertaining Notes is a new series in which we speak with friends of Chopin Vodka to learn about their top entertaining tips. Each of our contributors has been chosen because of their strong personal style and their penchant for throwing great parties. From signature cocktails and go-to playlists, to their favorite ways to serve Chopin Vodka, we learn about the personal touches that turn their events into memorable occasions.

Rob Franklin originally hails from the South but moved to California for school and New York for work. Today, he works in Audience & Strategy for art magazine, Artsy.net. Franklin also writes poetry and fiction. His work has been published in the Levinthal Anthology and in Fields Magazine.

My Dad has had the greatest influence on my entertaining style. He was a college president when I was growing up, so I’d come home from track practice or play rehearsal and there’d always be a reception of some sort happening in our living room. I sometimes joke that a standard dinner at my house growing up was 12 cheese cubes and 4 baby quiche. Anyway, he has this really remarkable ability to work a room at a party and make everyone feel truly seen, remembered and wanted - which I try to emulate. Of course, back then I’d typically just hoard hors d'oeuvres in the kitchen and hide from the adults.

Happy hours at my job have also had an influence on how I entertain. We have really amazing happy hours that have different signature cocktails each week, so I’ve actually learned how to make a number of drinks. I’m typically someone who rotates between maybe three ‘go-to’ drinks, so this has definitely been valuable for expanding my rotation.

When people ask about my signature cocktail I always think of this drink I invented called the ‘Mr. Franklin’. Years ago, when I was working at an Italian restaurant, we’d experiment with making custom cocktails after our shifts. One night I mixed vodka, sparkling water, a ton of lemon and mango puree (perhaps some mint as well for emphasis). It was surprisingly good so I made a round for all the waiters. They loved it, so I continued to make it periodically throughout the summer.

I’m definitely one of those people who brings a lot of produce into their drink-making; I like to have fresh fruit (berries and citrus) as well as herbs (mint and basil). If I’m feeling really picky, I prefer crushed ice for drinks. Lately, I’ve been having Chopin Vodka over ice with Pellegrino Limonata or Aranciata Rossa - it’s the easiest drink ever and sure to be a crowd-pleaser on a hot summer night. With a high-quality spirit, such as Chopin, I’m a big believer in keeping it simple.

Recently, I’ve been helping to host a ‘short story book club’. Our group is a semi-random assortment of friends from college, roommates and friends of friends, etc. We always begin with a cocktail hour and then discuss several stories by a single author we’ve all agreed to read. The club is lovely because it creates this incredibly collegiate environment to debate and drink and laugh - the kind of environment I’d almost forgotten I missed.

My go-to play lists would include The Strokes, The Growlers and Arctic Monkeys in the winter, and Solange, Frank and SZA in the summer. New York only has two seasons. If I were to give one tip for throwing a great party I’d have to say that there should be no ‘hard outs’ - the party ends when the last person leaves.
  • summer-solstice-1

    Summer Solstice

    Ingredients

    • 2 oz. Chopin Wheat Vodka
    • 2 oz. Mango juice
    • 4 oz. Sparkling water
    • Squeeze of lime

    Method

    Combine all ingredients except the sparkling water in a shaker. Shake well and strain into a tall glass.
    Add ice and top with sparkling water.

  • 16Hot Chocolate 2 square crop

    Hot Chocolate

    Ingredients

    • 6 oz. Whole milk
    • 2 oz. 70% Cacao chocolate, chopped or grated
    • 2 oz. Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur
    • 1 oz. Cream
    • Pinch of cinnamon
    • Pinch of salt
    • Whipped cream

    Method

    Warm the milk over medium heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring constantly until melted. When smooth, whisk in the remaining milk and cream. Add a pinch of cinnamon and salt and heat until hot but do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and stir in the Dorda Liqueur. Serve with marshmallows or a dollop of unsweetened, chilled whipped cream.

  • 15 Polish Coffee 2 square crop (1)

    Polish Coffee

    Ingredients

    • 3 oz. Brewed coffee
    • 1 ½ oz. Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur
    • Whipped cream

    Method

    Stir freshly brewed hot coffee together with Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur in a glass mug. Top with freshly whipped cream. Add garnishes as desired; we like cacao nibs, chocolate-covered espresso beans or shaved chocolate.

  • 14 Dorda Truffle

    Dorda Truffle

    Ingredients

    • 2 oz. Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur
    • 1 oz. Cointreau

    Method

    Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain and pour into a chilled cocktail glass of your choice, over fresh ice.

  • 13 FullSizeRender 6

    Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur Neat

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ oz. Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur
    • Raspberries, to garnish

    Method

    We believe Dorda is best enjoyed like a dessert. Serve it neat, or shaken with ice, in a stemmed glass. Garnish with a fresh raspberry.

    Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur is made with real chocolate, so always shake well before serving and store it at room temperature.

  • 11 Potato baltic cooler

    Mint-Lime Sparkler

    Ingredients

    • 2 oz. Chopin Wheat Vodka
    • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
    • ¾ oz. Simple syrup
    • 3 Slices of cucumber
    • 5 Mint sprigs
    • Sparkling water

    Method

    Muddle cucumber in a mixing glass. Add mint, muddle gently. Add vodka, lime juice, simple syrup and ice. Shake well, strain into a highball glass. Top with sparkling water.

  • 10 Wheat Ginger Mule

    Ginger Mule

    Ingredients

    • 2 oz. Chopin Wheat Vodka
    • ½ oz. Fresh lime juice
    • 3 oz. Ginger beer

    Method

    In a cocktail shaker ¾ filled with ice, combine vodka and lime juice and shake until chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into a copper mug, filled with crushed ice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with lime and mint.

  • 9 Wheat with cucumber

    Chopin Wheat on the Rocks

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ oz. Chopin Wheat Vodka
    • Cucumber (ribbons or wheels)

    Method

    Pour Chopin Wheat over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with cucumbers.

  • 8 Rye basil gimlet

    Basil Gimlet

    Ingredients

    • 2 ½ oz. Chopin Rye Vodka
    • 6 Fresh basil leaves (torn into strips)
    • ½ oz.  Fresh lime juice
    • Lime zest
    • ½ oz. Simple syrup

    Method

    Muddle basil, lime juice, lime zest, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow the liquid to infuse with the basil flavor. Add the vodka, then fill the shaker ²/₃ with ice. Cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish.

  • 7 Rye Bitter Sweet

    Chopin Bitter-Sweet

    Ingredients

    • 2 oz. Chopin Rye Vodka
    • ½ oz. Grapefruit juice
    • ½ oz. Grenadine
    • ½ oz. Campari

    Method

    Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker, shake vigorously, strain into rocks glass over ice. Garnish with grapefruit slice.

  • 6 Rye Bloody Mary

    Bloody Mary

    Ingredients

    • 6 oz. Bloody Mary mix (we love McClure’s and Motherlode Provisions)
    • 1 oz. Chopin Rye Vodka

    Method

    Fill a Collins glass with ice. Pour Chopin Rye then Bloody Mary mix into glass. Stir then finish with fresh cracked pepper and garnish to your taste.

  • 5 Rye with pepper olives

    Chopin Rye on the Rocks

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ oz. Chopin Rye Vodka
    • Olives stuffed with hot peppers

    Method

    Pour Chopin Rye over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with pepper-stuffed olives.

  • 3 Potato and rosemary

    Rosemary & Potato Martini

    Ingredients

    • 2 ½ oz. Chopin Potato Vodka
    • ½ oz. Dry Vermouth
    • 1 Bar spoon green olive juice
    • 3-4 Drops of high quality, fruity olive oil
    • Rosemary sprig and 1 green olive

    Method

    Fill a mixing glass ¾ with ice, add Chopin, vermouth, and olive juice. Using a bar spoon, stir for 30 seconds. Strain the martini into a chilled cocktail glass. Finish with a few drops of olive oil. Garnish with rosemary sprig and olive.

  • 2 Potato Dirty Martini

    Dirty Martini

    Ingredients

    • 2 ½ oz. Chopin Potato Vodka
    • ½ oz. Green olive brine
    • Olives freshly stuffed with bleu cheese (or soft cheese of your choice)

    Method

    Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with three olives.

  • 1 Potato with blue cheese olives

    Chopin Potato on the Rocks

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ oz. Chopin Potato Vodka
    • Olives freshly stuffed with bleu cheese (or soft cheese of your choice)

    Method

    Pour Chopin Potato over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with bleu cheese olives.

  • 4 Potato sipping

    Chopin Potato Neat

    Ingredients

    • 1 oz. Chopin Potato Vodka
    • Snifter, Cordial or Cognac glass

    Method

    To fully experience Chopin Potato’s nuanced flavors, it is best served neat in a stemmed snifter glass.