I know it's made from 1/4 Vana Tallinn and 3/4 Sparkling Wine (or Champaign) but I've spent ages trying to find out where and how it started. Does anyone claim to have invented it? What is the earliest reference to the drink? Also, it's so called as it will hit you over the head and cut your legs off, where does that story come from?

Thanks in advance for anyone that can help.

  • You probably need of some true Estonians to unravel this question.
    – Ken Graham
    Aug 17, 2017 at 10:44

1 Answer 1


I think I know the parent of this cocktail. The so-called Yorsh


  1. 1/3 vodka
  2. 2/3 champagne.

History of creation

Since the cocktail appeared a long time ago and in several places at once, it is not possible to establish its creator. Most likely, here, as in many other cases, folk ingenuity worked, someone decided to mix vodka with champagne at the festive table. The name of the cocktail given by the creator remains unknown. Presumably, it first appeared in the USSR, and was invented by students of one of the Moscow universities.

It seems to me that this cocktail was liked by aristocrats, but drinking vodka was not in status.


What else did you find out:

  1. I made a mistake with Yorsh
  2. Found the name of the cocktail - Polar/White Bear

Yorsh is a medium-strength alcoholic cocktail. Most often, the word "Yorsh (ruff)" means a mixture of vodka and beer. A characteristic feature of the mixture is that it causes intoxication faster than the amount of beer or vodka corresponding to the volume of alcohol separately. A similar effect is achieved due to the effect of carbon dioxide contained in beer on the gastric mucosa, which contributes to the rapid absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. See the history of the cocktail above

"Polar Bear(White Bear)" (also "Northern Lights") - a mixture of vodka or alcohol with champagne. The name originated in the north, when the tedder (a stolen awl - that is, stolen alcohol) began to interfere with champagne. During the perestroika period, the Brown Bear cocktail appeared.

mixture of vodka or alcohol - By alcohol it should be understood - a drink of 90° strength (from lat. spiritus)

History reference Polar/White Bear

The exact time of discovery and the author of the recipe are unknown. According to legend, Siberian gold miners came up with the cocktail, approximately in the 70s of the XX century, when vodka, cognac and champagne began to be imported into their working settlements.

In fact, this is one cocktail - in solid alcohol with sparkling wine. Champagne with vodka is called “Polar/White Bear”, and champagne with cognac is called “Brown Bear”, because it has a brown color. To taste, both options are suitable, but "Brown Bear" from the tannic tones of barrel-aged cognac.

Another similar cocktail is Northern Lights, but it is more gentle, as it contains lemon juice and sugar, which soften the taste.


  1. https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%81%D1%80%D1%88_(%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BA%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%B9%D0%BB%D1%8C)

  2. https://istalcogolya.com/vodka/vodka-shampanskoe.html

  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_Bear_(cocktail)#:~:text=A%20Polar%20Bear%2C%20After%20Eight,menthe%20is%20a%20popular%20substitute.

  4. https://alcofan.com/alkogolnyj-koktejl-medved.html

It is noteworthy that I could only find such articles in Russian.

  • Could ad a link to your post?
    – Ken Graham
    May 18, 2022 at 3:32
  • @KenGraham, yeah
    – 1001001
    May 18, 2022 at 4:00

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