Drink

Long Vodka

I have known about this drink for years, but it was only when I came to write it up here that I realised that the Long Vodka is almost unknown outside of Scotland. The Long Vodka is a favourite of my sister, Heather. She would order it for pre-dinner drinks at my parents’ house in Aberdeenshire, whereupon my father would roll his eyes because it was more of a faff to prepare than the gin and tonics everyone else tended to ask for.

“Oh, really Heather?”

Finding a recipe was not completely straightforward. Wikipedia indicates that the drink calls for lime cordial and lemonade. Variations from around the Internet include fresh lime juice, tonic water, soda water, and every combination thereof. In the end, I just texted Heather, got her version of it, realised it matched Wikipedia, and went with that – an authentic Scottish Long Vodka as mixed in Aberdeenshire by my own family.

However, in June 2019, a little over a year after we first posted this recipe, a remarkable thing happened. We were contacted by a lady called Jacky Bevan who appears to be the inventor of the Long Vodka. You can see Jacky’s comment below; but for the record, in 1978 Ms Bevan was working in a bar in Lancashire when she accidentally made a customer’s gin and lime with vodka. The bar owner suggested she just drink it; but when she did so, it was pretty bad. To knock back the acidity, Jacky added lemonade to it, thereby creating the prototype Long Vodka. At that point, the drink did not have a name.

In March of 1981, Jacky visited a small Scottish village called Inverkeilor between Arbroath and Montrose to see some family. She went to the local pub, which was known as The Plough (now closed). The landlord of The Plough was intrigued by the drink Jacky ordered, so he put it on his bar menu. Jacky also seeded the drink further north in Montrose and Aberdeen. At this time, the drink was known as nothing other than:

“Vodka, lime and lemonade in a tall glass.”

Jacky does not know when the drink gained its name or the bitters, but she is of the opinion that bitters are the work of the devil. Surprised that her drink had been written down, Jacky said to us:

“I thought I was the only one drinking this concoction.”

Enjoy.

Inverkeilor, Angus, Scotland

Long Vodka

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Serves: 1
Cooking Time: None

Ingredients

  • 75ml Russian Standard Vodka
  • 20ml lime cordial
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Lemonade

Instructions

1

Fill a highball glass with ice, add the bitters, swirl and pour the bitters away, retaining the ice.

2

Add the vodka and lime, top with lemonade and stir gently to ensure the lime is mixed through (it tends to sink) without degassing the fizz.

3

Serve with a slice of lime.

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5 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Sinead Keogh
    10/03/2019 at 3:03 pm

    Love that cocktail…but yes, outside of Scotland? Don’t think anyone has heard of it. I prefer 7up to lemonade though…

    • Nigel Eastmond
      Reply
      Nigel Eastmond
      11/03/2019 at 8:07 am

      It is such a ‘ghetto’-style cocktail, I imagine you can add anything lemony to it and get a good result.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Jacky Bevan
    07/06/2019 at 2:37 pm

    Nigel don’t know how old Heather is but here’s the origin of your Scottish long vodka. In 1978 I was working in a Pub in Lancashire England I mistakenly made a customer a vodka and lime instead of a gin and lime, the landlord said I might as well have the drink as no one else wanted it. It tasted disgusting so I added lemonade hence the birth of the long vodka. In March of 1981 I visited a small Scottish village called Inverkeillor to see family and went in the local pub ‘The Plough’ sadly no longer a pub, were the landlord was intrigued by my choice of drink an added it to his cocktail menu, at the time it didn’t have a name nor did it contain angostura bitters. I also requested this drink combination in pubs in Montrose and Aberdeen, so there you are, a history lesson on how things get started, by accident. Lol

    • Nigel Eastmond
      Reply
      Nigel Eastmond
      07/06/2019 at 2:43 pm

      Oh, good grief. Can we add that to the main article? How did you find our post?

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Jacky Bevan
    08/06/2019 at 1:22 am

    Of course you may add it to your article, I drank this mix until the early noughties when I gave up drinking due to health reasons. I found your post whilst browsing for cocktail names after reading a book that referred to a vdka sour and wondered if my mix had a name, again just chance

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