We are delighted to welcome our new contributor, Master Sommelier Virginia Philip. Virginia will weigh in occasionally on the topic of fine wines for our newly created pages, Private Yacht Vacations (please look for them in the upcoming May issue of Yachts International). Virginia is one of only 204 people worldwide to hold the title of Master Sommelier. Her discerning palate and encyclopedic knowledge also earned her the American Sommelier Association’s title of “Best Sommelier of the United States.” At The Breakers Palm Beach, Virginia oversees the beverage selection of nine restaurants and bars, and 14 wine lists. She owns Virginia Philip Wine Shop & Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla. A few blocks away from famed Clematis Street, the shop offers a wide selection of international wines she has personally selected. If you have a question about pairing the perfect wine to your menu, or about caring for your precious collection on board the yacht, or to learn more about fine wine, please let us know. We will be happy to put Virginia on the case.
Spirits of the Tsars, the New Premium Vodka from Russia
By Jill Bobrow
Appletini, chocolatini, jalapenatini…Vodka is the base for a whole new trendy range of martinis that would make James Bond cringe. Enter Spirits of the Tsars, a Russian golden vodka that Bond would enjoy straight up, neither shaken nor stirred. Its formula dates back 500 years. As the story goes, this particular vodka recipe appeared in Russia during the reign of Ivan III and was the sole domain of the Romanov Dynasty from 1613 until 1917. The rye-wheat grain-based vodka is distilled six times, infused with natural organic ingredients such as vanilla bean and handpicked pear leaves, then fermented twice and aged in oak cognac barrels, which gives it its unusual honey color. This incredibly smooth vodka is best drunk neat, like a fine whiskey or brandy. A beautiful one-liter bottle and a large label with a 24-karat gold veneer make it a snazzy presentation. After making the rounds at venues such as Art Basel Miami, Nikki Beach and Mar-a-Lago (a private club in Palm Beach), Spirits of the Tsars was available for taste tests at the AIM Marine Group Pavilion at the Palm Beach International Boat Show. The vodka retails for close to $250 a bottle and makes the perfect yacht-warming gift.