February 21: The Romanovs’ Rise And Fall

Tsar_Mikhail_IToday we mark two historical events that together create a bit of historical irony. We’ll get to the second a little later, but the first event that we’re marking today occurred on February 21, 1613: The election of Tsar Michael I of Russia.

Michael I was the first Tsar of the Romanov dynasty and was just 16-years old when a national assembly unanimously elected him Tsar of Russia. Why was there an election for a monarchical position? Well, Russia had recently been through a roughly 15 year period known as The Time Of Troubles during which Russia experienced famines, multiple people claiming to be the true Tsar and an occupation by Poland.

After the expulsion of the Poles, Russia turned its eyes towards the powerful Romanov family for guidance. However, earlier during The Time of Troubles, family patriarch Feodor Nikitich Romanov had experienced disgrace and was forced to exile himself from political life and take a monastic vow. After The Time of Troubles though, the Romanovs had returned to prominence, but Feodor Nikitich Romanov could not take the throne as tsar because of his vows to the church. So, his son Michael was elected to the throne…with Feodor helping to run the country from the shadows. The Romanovs would continue to rule over Russian until they were deposed in 1917 during the Russian Revolution.

So, what was the second event we wanted to draw attention to today? Well, on February 21, 1848 (235 years after the Romanov dynasty began), Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels would publish a political thesis called Manifesto of the Communist Party, which would inspire the Russian Revolution that brought about the end of the Romanovs.

Let’s raise a glass to the Romanov dynasty with a Tsar Cocktail. It’s a regal cocktail made with champagne and vodka, naturally.

Tsar Cocktail

  • 3 ounces Champagne
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier Orange Liqueur
  • 1 ounce Vodka
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters

Shake all ingredients except for the champagne with ice anf strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne.

Tomorrow: A legendary bartender.

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