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Troika Vodka Boutique

Troika Vodka Boutique is a lounge inspired by Russian elegance, located on the cusp of the Financial District .

Prior to my visit, I did what any red-blooded Canadian who loves their country does: I went on the website to see what their cheapest drink was. (I have stopped simply asking for the cheapest drink they stock as my "adult friends" with "RRSPs" who "know how to use the washing machine" tell me it's gauche.) My first impression of Troika was that they clearly paid their web designer in vodka.

The website is nearly unreadable and offers very little information aside from prices on bottle service. Also, the Twitter and Facebook icons link to the general homepages of Twitter and Facebook. This did not bode well for Troika.

I visited Troika Vodka Boutique on a Wednesday evening. The décor at Troika is very winter-meets-Euro-chic, a departure from the recent trend towards summer-meets-Euro-trash. The bar is lit with blue lighting, a veritable nightmare for heroin users.

As soon I entered the bar, we were greeted warmly by a server who brought us the cocktail list along with a complimentary platter of olives, pickles and meats. This was both delicious and authentic, as nothing says Russia like small amounts of goods shared freely by all. Obviously, the platter worked well in theory but in practice, was dominated by the strongest who corruptly ate all the delicious cardamom-dusted mushrooms.

The cocktail list has several martinis, all of which are around the $15 mark. I chose the Troikapolitan while my companions sampled the Appletini. While we were ordering, I asked the server about the choice of name for Troika. Did it refer to the video game developer (a possible investor?), the painting by famed artist Perov (inspiration for the décor??) or the commission under Stalin who convicted people without trial (foreshadowing for exciting role-playing, possible S&M, activities to take place later in the evening???)

"It's like, three. Like three courses of food." she said.

The martinis were delivered to our table by a handsome gentleman. Any disappointment I was harboring over the subpar website and lackluster explanation was instantly released upon tasting my Troikapolitan. As a female who frequently imbibed underage during the Martini Boom of the early 2000's, I have had thousands of cosmopolitans, pomegranatetinis, and even martinis I invented using gin, energy drinks, and dish soap.

This Troikapolitan was the best martini I have ever tasted. The vodka was not overpowering or chemical-tasting, as tends to be the case in strong drinks, and it was the perfect blend of sour-sweet and refreshing citrus. The appletini was reminiscent of a Nature Valley granola bar, with hints of cinnamon and spice. The thirty seconds it took me to down my cocktail were heavenly.

Was the cocktail worth $15? Yes. Would I come here every day? No, not unless I was a Lucille Bluth-inspired rich alcoholic.

Troika Vodka Boutique would be a great place to go for after-work drinks, a girls night, or a first date where you don't want to seem like you're trying too hard but you really want to look like a total baller. Just don't let your date check the website.

Martha Stortz


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