June is Pride Month. Not that you need a cause to tie one on, but for those of us old enough to remember where the term “Twinkie defense” came from, a new limited edition bottle from Stolichnaya is a welcome nod to inclusivity. Released on May 22 (Harvey Milk’s birthday), the ultra-premium vodka features label art that honors the famously theatrical politician and puts its money where-well, where your mouth is with proceeds benefitting LGTBQ rights initiatives on 5 continents.
For anyone just joining us, San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in California history. He was assassinated in 1978 (along with then-Mayor George Moscone) by a mentally destabilized fellow Supervisor, Dan White. Milk was 48 years old and less than one year into his tenure as Supervisor, but he had already established himself recognized as a passionate and committed crusader for gay rights (and individual liberties more broadly; he was staunchly committed to the concept of strong neighborhoods in all their expressions) in San Francisco. It’s painful to imagine what he might have accomplished had his life not been senselessly cut short, but as often happens, he’s retained a certain eternal influence by the fact of a violent death at the height of his popularity, and remains an LGTBQ rights icon today.
Stoli’s limited edition bottle features a colorful portrait of The Mayor of Castro Street inspired by Uruguayan muralist Oz Montania. Sales of the $20 bottle benefit the Harvey Milk Foundation through Stoli’s “Raising the Bar” program, a platform for celebrating and elevating LGTBQ equality, diversity and authenticity. The Harvey Milk Foundation will use the funds to support LGTBQ programs in Eastern Europe and the Baltic nations. So if you’re interested in ways to vote for diversity and inclusivity with your pocketbook, this one’s a no-brainer if you’re a vodka drinker.
A few suggested cocktails, courtesy of Stoli.
1 ½ Parts Stoli Vodka
2 Parts White Cranberry Juice
½ Part Ginger Liqueur
1 Part Sparking Lemon Soda
Directions: Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with mint leaves and a rainbow candy strip (if you have one available).
Stoli Razberri Smash
1 ½ oz. Stoli Premium
½ oz. St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
¾ oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 ½ oz. Pineapple Juice
1 tsp of Raspberry Preserves
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass.
No Sleep till Sunrise
1 ½ oz. Stoli Premium
½ oz. turmeric infused blanc vermouth*
½ oz. lime juice
¾ oz. pineapple juice
½ oz. simple syrup
Cucumber chunks for muddling
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and muddle cucumber chunks. Add ice to cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Serve over fresh ice in a rocks glass with a cucumber flag garnish.
*Turmeric infused blanc vermouth recipe – Add 4.5 tbsp turmeric into the 750 ml bottle of blanc vermouth and infuse by shaking.