SI Vault
 
EVENTS & DISCOVERIES
May 18, 1959
A Sub of One's Own
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 18, 1959

Events & Discoveries

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5

IT IS A PLEASURE TO SEND GREETINGS TO THOSE ATTENDING THE ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR HEALTH, PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND RECREATION.

FITNESS OF OUR CITIZENS IS A NATIONAL NEED REQUIRING CONTINUING PUBLIC ATTENTION AND ENLIGHTENED ACTION. YOUR "OPERATION FITNESS—U.S.A." PROJECT SHOULD HELP FOCUS ATTENTION UPON CONTRIBUTIONS THAT CAN BE MADE TO THE HEALTH, VIGOR AND CHARACTER OF AMERICAN BOYS AND GIRLS. BEST WISHES FOR A FINE CONVENTION.
DWIGHT DAVID EISENHOWER

Make Mine a Yorsh

There is perhaps no finer evidence of Soviet efficiency than that shown in the Russian approach to the international oasis of sportsmen known as the 19th hole. Where most of the decadent civilizations of the Western world find it necessary to struggle through 18 or more ardent and taxing holes of golf before settling down to their just reward in the locker room bar, the Russians have eliminated all the inefficient and wasteful preliminaries. There is not, as it happens, a single golf course in all of Russia, yet the workers' paradise is seemingly one vast 19th hole.

Communist drinking, according to our Photographer-Correspondent Jerry Cooke, who has just returned from Russia weary, footsore and perhaps a touch dehydrated, is continuous, enthusiastic, imaginative and not a whit impaired by the recent dictum limiting Russian lushes to a single hooker of vodka in any one bar. In the first place, there is nothing in the law to keep you from bowling along to the next bar for another hooker; in the second place, the law applies only to vodka, and vodka is only the beginning.

The people of Russia have long been famed for a monumental consumption of their tribal drink, and they still drink traditional oceans of vodka but they drink a great many other things as well. Among Moscow's high-living, modern Jet Set—the duck-tailed, tight-trousered Russian equivalent of London's neo-Edwardian Teddy Boys—the favorite tipple is Armenian cognac. They can well afford it. Their fathers for the most part are high-ranking status seekers in the classless society, and drinking money is not much of a problem in a land where income taxes take only 13% in the top bracket. The Jets can be seen in droves in any good Moscow restaurant drinking their cognac quietly in the company of buxom girl friends and causing little trouble beyond a certain unsteadiness of gait when at last they make their way homeward.

There are others in Russia who take their drinks with more gusto and mix them with more imagination than the morose Jets. For these happily bibulous Bolsheviks, the bartenders in Moscow's "cocktail halls" will cheerfully mix a lighthouse (3 ounces chartreuse, 1 ounce cognac poured over an egg yolk; drink without breaking the yolk), or a Prince of Wales (3 parts sweet champagne, 1 part cognac; serve in a water glass and drink in a single swallow).

Transportation of liquids to the farther reaches of the Soviet Union is something of a problem, so it is often cheaper and easier to ship pure alcohol than the slightly more watery vodka. Hence the favorite cocktail of northern Siberia is the Far East, or snow, cocktail. This tipple consists of a deep gulp of 190-proof alcohol washed down with a handful of snow, and it is told, with some pride, that Siberia's best hunters can hit a squirrel in the eye (so as not to spoil the fur) at 300 feet after enough Far Easts. In the same rough category as the Far East is the trailertruck: raw vodka followed by a bite of salt herring and washed down by more vodka. Moscow's medical students take their pleasure in a kind of just-nonlethal denatured alcohol which they call blue lady.

At the sophisticated opposite end of the Russian drinking spectrum are the carnival, the yorsh and the Sharbagatovka. The latter, named for a Soviet artist, is a blend of cognac and red wine drunk warm after skating or skiing, like a German Gl�hwein. The carnival, a Leningrad favorite, consists of two kinds of Russian ram—both sweetish—1 part vodka, 1 part cognac and enough champagne to fill whatever glass is being used. Cooke describes it as a Russian zombie. The trickiest drink of all is the yorsh (named after a small fish with prickles), whose manufacture requires as much skill as does a pousse-caf�. It is mixed by pouring beer into a glass up to the halfway mark and covering it gently with a white (must be white) handkerchief. The glass is then filled ever so gently to the brim with vodka. If the job is done right the handkerchief can be removed leaving vodka and beer together in a wedded but unmixed state, and the whole thing is swallowed at a gulp. "It looks," said one enraptured comrade to Cooke, "absolutely lovely against the light."

Last but far from least is a kind of instant Muscovite beer which can be brewed at home in a mere 15 days. It takes only a little sugar, some water and a few grams of dry yeast. If, after one week in a warm place, it has neither blown up nor walked away, add a little more yeast and vodka to taste, wait another week, and then have fun. Before consuming too much, however, it might be well to have a sip of kasy, a horsemeat broth popular in Central Asia. Kasy is thought to make one immune to alcohol in any quantity.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5