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.”
- 75ml Russian Standard Vodka
- 20ml lime cordial
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Fill a highball glass with ice, add the bitters, swirl and pour the bitters away, retaining the ice.
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.
Serve with a slice of lime.