A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard – and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.
People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.
Shake it, stir it, stick a pretty little umbrella in it… Whatever you do just make sure you got a glass that contains some kinda colourful concoction of liquids in your hand! If you follow along below, we’ll even teach you how to make it taste good!
While the weather may not be cooperating at the moment, it is summer. And what happens in the summer? Beach, BBQs and of course cool and tasty beverages.
With so many delicious options awaiting you on the internet and among any number of bartender books, there are always a few tricks of the trade that never get revealed to the lowly consumer. Well, we’re here to remove any doubts you may have when it comes to mixing up your own moonshine, and regardless of what anybody tells you, you should definitely be trying this at home!
The Man at Mai Tai
Having sussed out all the really good restaurants in town, the one that stuck out in our heads for top-notch cocktails was the illustrious Mai Tai. With 70+ traditional cocktails and a handful of Mai Tai specialties available, we couldn’t have picked a better place to hang out and get a little tipsy.
Feeling fairly steady on our feet upon arrival, Serhiy the bartender takes us over to the bar and hands us the drinks menu. We don’t want to frighten you. However, we do feel it necessary to warn you: the options are many. With sweat starting to pour down our foreheads, we are visibly showing signs of distress. There is too much choice! So between all of the Doctor Funk of Tahitis, the little Green Mexicans and the agony of Sunburns, we allow Serhiy to do the deciding for us. Whew! What he suggests, the brilliant man that he is, is their claim to fame – the Mai Tai!
One small note of caution to all of you out there who refuse to drink anything that contains ice because you think you’ll get sick: read no further! You will only be disappointed! Why you might ask? Because the main ingredient of any and all summer cocktails, regardless of type, size or taste, is ice!!! If you don’t have any, you’re gonna need to go out and get some!
For this particular drink, we will be using the crushed kind; which is where a blender comes in handy. You don’t need a whole tray full, that would just be a little nuts: four or five cubes will do. Having got it to the correct consistency, throw it the glass. Here, the all-knowing Serhiy says the kind of glass you use is very important. You are not only creating something to quench your thirst, you are creating an experience – so make sure you use something clean and classy.
Next, a little lime gets thrown in. Before you cut, however, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve rolled it between your hand and the cutting board a few times to get all the juices flowing. Cut into quarters and squeeze as much as you can out of one of the quarters. Set aside. To enhance the tart tang of the Mai Tai, Serhiy has 30ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice, which he has prepared using a juicer, that he pours in next. He suggests that you try to measure this as accurately as possible, as you don’t want to look like a complete sour puss after every sip.
Now, depending on who you are, this next part determines the way the rest of the night will go, so
Serhiy proceeds with caution. Taking a bottle of Bacardi Gold Rum, Captain Morgan Black Rum and Curacao Orange, he pours 30ml of each potion into the glass. You can experiment with these amounts if you wish. However, and this goes for the ladies most especially, no one wants to hear you singing the Spice Girls come the end of the night so just be careful. The last of the liquors adds a beautiful golden hue to the cocktail as well as a wonderful aroma and I am ready to grab a straw and dig in. Unfortunately, Serhiy’s not finished yet and I get the evil eye.
Taking a little almond extract and pouring it right over top, the nuttiness takes the edge off the bitter lemon and the hard booze making the drink a little lighter and a little sweeter. I would know that to taste if he would just look away for a moment. To my chagrin, he doesn’t move a muscle.
Lucky for me the Mai Tai is almost ready: the last step includes adding a few more ice cubes to the top, throwing it all into a shaker and dancing around to your favourite song. This last bit you should do only if no one is looking.
Taking the lime you’ve set aside, console it by telling it you haven’t forgotten about it and set it on top of your concoction. Next, grab a couple of fresh mint leaves to lay down beside it – it will appreciate the company. And finally, a plastic sword skewered with a cherry and a piece of pineapple seals the deal nicely (a toothpick will do if your kids won’t let you have their plastic swords).
A Rum Jig will Get You Dancing
Having gulped that down in no time flat, Serhiy knew he was dealing with a pro and so set about going to work on a second cocktail he thought we might like – a Rum Jig! First of all, you’re going to need to go on vacation to some tropical paradise to find yourself a conch, the item required to hold the contents of this next drink. It’s a lot to ask for a simple summer cocktail. However, once your husband gets on board with the idea of then using the required shell for your liquored up needs, we’re sure he’ll be happy to oblige.
Okay, we’ve established that you’ve been away on holiday, you’ve got a really good tan, you’re feeling good and you’ve come back with a couple of pretty cool carapaces, we will start by putting in a few ice cubes so that our drinking apparatus is cooled to the correct temperature. After all that, set it aside. But just for a few moments!
Grab your trusty blender, toss in about 45ml of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and then 60ml each of orange and pineapple juice. Of course fresh squeezed is better, but if you haven’t got a juicer then this might be a tad difficult and boxed juice will do. Blend. Next comes 15ml of sugar which will help to neutralise any nasty sourness that might ensue. At this point we should definitely add a little alcohol – always helpful to loosen the mood. Again, you can go with your gut on with the type and quantity of booze. However, we're going to go with Serhiy who says the best option is Bacardi White. And for this one, just like the last, you’ll need 90ml worth.
At this point, you’re going to need to add a little ice, so take that which has been sitting in your conch and throw it into the blender. Blend until the cows come home. Or, perhaps more appropriately, until all the ice has been crushed and no noise comes from the quickly moving blades down below.
Pouring the mixture into the conch, an interesting thing happens: there is a surprisingly pleasant smell of coconut that comes from the settled liquid. Did Serhiy pull a fast one and drizzle a little coconut syrup into the mix while we weren’t looking? He swears he did not! And instead says the aroma comes from all of these particular ingredients being bashed around together. Interesting!
Having placed a few decorative elements on our previous cocktail, this one needs nothing: it rests in a beautiful shell bowl. Sliding a couple of straws into the blend, I wonder at who the extra straw is for. But then remember that my mother told me it’s nice to share and so offer a sip to whoever wants.
Shaking Serhiy’s hand and thanking him for this fabulous master class, we leave a little bit less balanced on the whole but a whole lot happier. I’ll be trying these cocktails at home this weekend for sure – want to come over?
Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they don’t understand the meaning of these words.
Pulling Strings Located on Hrushevskoho Street – the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades – children’s favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. What’s On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.