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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Drinks for a good cause

     The holidays offer the perfect excuse to have nice drinks, and as many of them as possible! This year I was able to get my hands on some supreme quality vodka, and it came with a good cause too.  Snow Leopard Vodka is the contribution of entrepreneur and philanthropist Stephen Sparrow, who after learning of the challenges of the communities in the area the snow leopard inhabits and the danger of extinction of the species, came up with the idea of this beverage.

     The snow leopard (panthera uncia) is the least known of the big cats.  Personally, I find its coat the most beautiful – a white, mushy coat with black markings.  It has an unusually long tail, which serves him well to prowl in the mountains.  These animals are loners, getting together only during the breeding season in winter.  They inhabit the highest mountains in the world – the Tibetan plateau throughout Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal.  The species is on the critically endangered list due to deforestation and black market trafficking with none other than China.  Thanks to people like Sparrow and the Snow Leopard Trust, the species may have a chance.

© 2014 Snow Leopard vodka
      The Snow Leopard vodka is produced in Poland.  It comes in a beautifully designed bottle with a painted picture of a snow leopard.  The drink is distilled 6 times directly from the ancient grain of spelt and has a superbly clean taste, round and creamy.  It makes for a great base for cocktails.  Not surprisingly it has won numerous awards.  Here are two of my favorite recipes.

Appletini (the best version you’ve EVER had)

  • 3oz. Snow Leopard vodka
  • 2oz. Schönauer Apfel schnapps
  • 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice

      Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker and pour into a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with an apple slice pierced with a cinnamon stick.

Snow Kitten
     This is a recipe created by the bartenders at the Light Bar, in London’s modern St. Martin’s Lane Hotel.  A place that offers cocktails with a European twist, using ingredients like Elderflower liqueurs, champagne and lychee juice.  It is worth the work in finding the ingredients.


  • 2oz. Snow Leopard vodka
  • 12 blueberries
  • 2 to 5 bar spoons of damson plum preserves
  • 2 bar spoons of honey
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice

     Muddle the blueberries.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir, then shake with ice and strain into a Martini glass.  Garnish with blueberries on a stirrer.

     Keep in mind that when you purchase a bottle of Snow Leopard vodka, 15% of the cost goes to the species conservation.  The company aims to sell 100,000.00 bottles a year.  That would provide about $450,000.00 towards conservation.  An amazing effort and also utterly delicious.

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