There is a specialty liquor store I venture into once in a while.  Usually I am looking for something particular and leave with another fascinating find in hand.  “The Jewel of Russia” is one such gem.  While it is another vodka on the market from the heart of Russia no less, the bottle I picked up is infused with wild bilberries.  Of course I had to look up bilberries to see what they actually were.

What are bilberries?  European blueberry, blaeberry, whortleberry, whinberry, myrtle blueberry, fraughan and most likely an array of other names regionally.  While they appear similar to a blueberry, the bilberry is red or purple and grows singularly or in paired berries rather than clusters like the blueberry.  Bilberries are most often used in jams, pies and various prepared desserts rather than eaten fresh.  In this case, they are soaked in vodka for use in cocktails.

The Jewel of Russia is traditional Russian Vodka crafted with authenticity, quality and tradition in mind.  There is of course Classic and Premium Vodka rather than the infused lower alcohol content Wild Bilberry version I picked up, but each Jewel of Russia Vodka variety is steeped in distinctive Old World style and charm.  The liquor store owner I chatted with swears by this particular brand due to the true craftsmanship that goes into the spirit.  He said there is no other like it with its purity and smoothness. 

You will taste snippets of chocolate and cherry with a liqueur like finish rounding out the silky texture of this infused Wild Bilberry Vodka.  The flavor is not unusually strong, so it is recommended to use light flavored ingredients when creating cocktails on your own.  It is acceptable to place the infused varieties of The Jewel of Russia Vodkas in the freezer for a few hours before use, but do not keep them there for lengthy amounts of time.  Due to the sugar content, some elements of the vodka may separate and freeze. 

I tried the Cosmo Jewel (for him).  The Berry Infusion is recommended for women and the Wild Bilberry is suggested for men.  I am such a non conformist!  Actually, the Wild Bilberry just looked more interesting.  The recipe is fine as is Jewel of Russia - Russian Cosmo - photo copyright Cheri Loughlinwith only Wild Bilberry and squeeze of lime, but this is a cocktail that definitely leaves room for serious tweaking if the mood strikes.  I did play with it by adding a touch of Cointreau and cranberry juice as a traditional Cosmo would require.  The Cointreau does overwhelm the delicate flavor of the Wild Bilberry infusion as the website says stronger flavored ingredients will.  Back to the drawing board for me.  Then again, how rough can it be playing around with liquor trying to find just the right mix to satisfy the taste buds? 

Below you will find a few of the recipes using The Jewel of Russia Wild Bilberry Vodka Infusion found on the official Jewel of Russia website.  Check out the recipes and then venture on to the website for more information.

COSMO JEWEL (FOR HIM) – uses Wild Bilberry Infusion

COSMO JEWEL (FOR HER) – uses Berry Infusion

2 to 3 ounces Wild Bilberry or Berry Infusion

Squeeze of Lime

Combine liquids in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into chilled martini glass.


The Jewel of Russia Classic – 2 or 3 parts, The Jewel of Russia Wild Bilberry Infusion – 1 part, add ice and a squeeze of lime. Shake well in a cocktail shaker. Serve in a chilled Martini glass


3 ounces Wild Bilberry Infusion

Splash Fresh Lemon Juice

Build over fresh ice in Old-Fashioned glass.


3 ounces Berry Infusion

Splash Fresh Lime Juice

Build over fresh ice in Old-Fashioned glass.


1 ounce Wild Bilberry or Berry Infusion

3 ounces Club Soda

Lemon Wedge Garnish

Build over fresh ice in highball glass. Garnish with lemon wedge.


2 ounces Berry or Wild Bilberry Infusion – chilled

Place bottle in freezer for approximately 3 hours. Serve chilled vodka in stemmed vodka shot glass as aperitif. Jewel of Russia Berry and Wild Bilberry Infusions are not recommended to be kept in the freezer for long term.

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The Jewel of Russia Wild Bilberry Vodka Infusion: Lightly Different