I’ve adapted this exquisite yet simple recipe from The Stork Club Bar Book, originally published in 1934. (Order it here.)
Mix two ounces of vodka, a tablespoon of crème de cassis, and a scant teaspoon of fresh lime juice; shake with lots of ice, and strain into a small cocktail glass.
In the prewar era, vodka was hardly the most common ingredient in a cocktail (of the 1500 recipes in Trader Vic's 1947 Bartender's Guide, four are for vodka cocktails), and there was a whiff of the exotic about it. That's why the appellations of vodka cocktails often connoted Russia--Moscow mule, Alexander the Great, czarina, tovarich, soviet, etc.