Like a Russian nesting doll, Perestroika at Pravda's Samizdat event is a pop-up within a pop-up, and named for the 1950s-era rebellion among Soviet writers, who got around state censorship by hand-copying banned pubs (political and religious texts, novels and poetry) and spreading them to eager underground audiences.
"Samizdat" loosely translates to "self-published", and at P@P that translates to a slew of original craft cocktails written by Nick Detrich, who co-owns the venture with The Cure Collective.
The Samizdat cocktails are "too adventurous for the typical menu, and are more effort to make," says Nick.
This Tuesday's lineup included a dynamic Campari and cinnamon cocktail, as well as a bourbon sour variation based on tarty Amère Nouvelle and Nick's own vanilla simple syrup, which he makes from griddled vanilla beans that add lush complexity.
I was especially drawn to the Italian Sunglass Movie, a masterful composition of anise and roasted coffee liqueurs whose palate rolls seamlessly from earthy black licorice and orange to nutty milk chocolate. A surprise third liqueur - Cynar - delivers botanicals and an amaro-like bitterness that cuts through the richness and makes for a clean finish.
The cocktail has all the taste (and remarkably, even approaches the texture) of spiked coffee; true to its counter-culture setting, though, it's rendered chilled and on the rocks.
Could it appear on P@P's standard menu? Nyet is the answer, but in the spirit of Samizdat you should order it anyway, in a subversive whisper, off the menu.
Watch for Samizdat every Tuesday night from 8 p.m. at Perestroika at Pravda. Nick hopes to continue the weekly event even after he changes over to a rum house in late spring 2013. 1113 Decatur, 581.1112
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