Friend to the Russian populace, labor-intensive scourge to baristas, it’s time to break down the enormously popular eponymous signature drink invented especially for this week’s event in Moscow: The Spasskaya Tower (“Spass-kee-ya Bass-kya” in Russian).
The Soyuz Team felt it was important to have an “exclusive” coffee available at their Red Square pop-up. (Exclusivity is, I’ve gathered, a big deal in fashionable modern SuperMoscow.) Invented as a collaboration between Stefanos Domatiotis, Andrew Hetzel and his wife, Heather, it’s been blowing minds here all week on the Square, where they’re cranking out over 150 of them an hour per barista station. Tut-tut if you want, but it’s actually a pretty delicious drink, though I wouldn’t recommend adding 4 packets of sugar to it. (We’ve seen it happen.)
Step 1: .5 oz of chocolate syrup, .5 oz of cardamom syrup. The Soyuz pop-up crew has been pre-mixing these syrups and pre-filling the paper cups, so as to better handle the boggling amount of volume they’re dealing with. Cardamom is a pretty popular flavor profile here, and it fuses with the milk in a subtle savory-sweet kind of way.
Step 2: Single shot of espresso, so as to accommodate “the hardcore sweet tooth” of guests attending the festival. Tastes better with two shots, for sure, but what’s that old saying…know your audience? Who am I to disagree with a 300 pound 4-Star Russian General? Anyhoo, they’re making them from all three Soyuz blends, but I tried mine with the Barista #7 blend, made up of coffees from Brazil (Minas) and Ethiopia (Guji Yirgacheffe). It’s a pretty tasty shot, actually, my favorite of the 3 Soyuz coffees used this week. Fun, but not too wild – scaring the Russians is always a bad idea.
Step 3. Steamed milk, or “moloko”, prepared in your standard latte style.
Step 4. Garnish with ground, roasted, unsalted pistachios, just a dash of them across the lip-side of the drink. A little sprinkle of chopped nuts over latte foam that has soaked up all that cardamom? Actually pretty good. If you make yours at home you can obviously handcraft it out of fresh batch syrups (that’s how Andrew and Stefanos did it in their labs), but the crew here used Monin due to availability and sponsorship. You don’t gotta drink ‘em every day, obviously, but come on, if it’s good enough for the earpiece-clad armed security detail outside the VIP tent…