Lost in Translation

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The purpose of a great craft cocktail, one made with thought, skill and care, is to delight.


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Holy crap did this post take FOREVER! I was planning on posting this at least 2 weeks ago and then I may have been abducted by aliens (the non-butt-probing kind) or something ’cause I never got around to sharing this delightful post with all of you wonderful alcoholics humans.

I have an upcoming “educational” (say what?!) post on sake where I lie to you all with non-confirmed facts (mainly because I was too lazy to “bing it”) about that deliciousness from Japan. It’ll basically be a “rule of thumb” type of post if you’re interested in sake to sip it instead of boring wine (if you’re feeling sexy) or to mix it with other spirits (if you’re feeling adventurous). In that post I go over soju (used here) which is not a sake but if you can keep a secret, I’ll have you know that this stuff makes for a fantastic vermouth sub. Yup.

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  • Soju/Shochu
  • Vodka
  • Apricot Eau De Vie
  • Triple-Sec
  • Bitters
  • Simple syrup

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Soju or Shochu? At this point its the same thing. Soju is traditionally from Korea, while Shochu is of Japan. This Kaikouzo Soju is actually Shochu marketed as soju. Usually they are all under 25% ABV and are distilled very much like a neutral grain spirit (potatoes used quite often), with the master distiller infusing flavor throughout the process or at the very end.

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I wanted to make it easier to start remembering hot to make my drinks. This is a simple stirred drink in a 4,3,2,1 method where you start with one spirit and from there you add 1/4 less of the next. Yeah that was confusing:

1 oz Kaikouzo Soju
3/4 oz Imperia Vodka
1/2 oz Metté apricot Eau De Vie
1/4 oz Cointreau
2 dashes of Dr. Adam Elmegiram’s Teapot Bitters
1 dash of simple syrup (just a dash)

Add all into a chilled mixing glass full of ice and stir. With every drink you make you’ll start refining your stirring technique. When I started, I was a subtle as a blender on max. It was ugly.

Strain into a smaller martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

[ Enjoy ]

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This drink plays close to a vodka martini, what with its crystal clear appearance and velvet flavors. The soju itself could potentially be used as a blanc vermouth of sorts, but there is definitely a broader flavor profile in it making you want to sip it slow to let those flavors do their work. 

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It’s OK to change your mind. I mean, we do it all the time, right? Sometimes I wear different socks in the morning (I’m not just talking about color here, I mean, 1 will be an ankle sock and the other will be a barely elastic crew sock with a hole in the front big enough for 2 toes) and right before I leave the house I stop myself and say “No. Not like this. You’re a grown man now”.

Well just like that, I made a cocktail the other night that I had enjoyed @ Eastern Standard which they call the “Au Provence”. Its a nice little vodka gimlet with tarragon infused simple that I bastardized the shit out of it in the comfort of my home and took pictures for you guys, wrote up a recipe, the whole 9… Turns out that vodka (was using Karlsson’s) falls flat with tarragon and lime. There’s nothing to make it anything more than starter drink for the night that you’ll forget as soon as something better comes along. Like a first husband or wife.
On my second run, I used No. 3 gin, which with its delicate botanical mix is just perfect for this cocktail.

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No. 3 London Dry Gin
Lime juice
Tarragon infused simple
Grapefruit Bitters
Angostura bitters

If you prefer to use a gin that has a more prominent orange peel element, you can swap out the grapefruit bitters for orange bitters to help bring out those flavors.

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2 parts No.3 Gin
3/4 part lime juice
3/4 part tarragon simple
2 dashes of angostura bitters
2 dashes of grapefruit bitters

Pour into a shaker, add ice and beat the devil out of it.
Double strain into a chilled martini glass or coupe.
Garnish with a fresh lime twist and some tarragon to really get that herbal aroma.

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The Lilypad

2 parts gin [ Plymouth gin ]
1 part freshly squeezed grapefruit juice [ very important ]
1/2 part simple syrup
3 basil leaves
1 dash of grapefruit bitters [ Scrappy’s Bitters ]

This is a very light and aromatic cocktail, where we pair the citrus from the grapefruit with the orange peel botanicals in the Plymouth gin.

How to:
Pour all the ingredients in your shaker and grab the basil leaves, slap them in the palm of your hand and then tear them in 2. All the ice we’re about to use will ensure they get excoriated enough to extract the oils. Drop them in the shaker.
Load with ice and shake it to wake it up!

Double strain [ Hawthorne + tea strainer ] so that you can smile after drinking it without losing your cool, thinking you have basil in your teeth.
Garnish with some basil leaves.
[ Enjoy ]