All cocktail trends move West to East in the United States. It’s just a fact of life in the cocktail business. The trends are created by talented tastemakers and their talent just follows suit. All it takes is the right coverage, and a win or two in bartending competitions.
That’s really all that is required. Then the cocktail trends just slide into home base as easily as washing a glass in mezcal or using a homemade rhubarb soda. On a recent journey to the left coast, I discovered washes of mezcal and the above mentioned soda, carefully prepared by passionate young people who are fascinated by flavor and seasonality.
One of my favorite drinks was reimagined in Los Angeles at a cocktail party. The peaches were ripe, melted on a griddle and then muddled with pickled ginger (East/West influences) and equal parts Campari, Botanical Gin and Sake were added. The ingredients spoke of Europe through the Campari and the United States with the Botanical Gin. The Sake speaks of Japan and the pickled ginger? A tip of the cap to your local sushi bar. Peaches and ginger? Why not.
Peaches and Ginger
Rocks Glass – prechilled
(roast your peaches over a griddle until melted and then cool for your cocktail)
- Roasted Peaches
- .75 Campari
- .75 Botanical Gin
- .75 Sake
- 2-3 pieces pickled ginger
- Regan’s Orange Bitters
- Muddle the peaches with the pickled ginger
- Add an ice ball
- Pour over the Campari, the Gin and the Sake- Try to use a fresh bottle from the fridge. no unrefrigerated (old) sake allowed!
- Dot with Regan’s Orange Bitters- two drops only!
Another drink that contains ginger in the fashion of a mule- involves again the use of sake. Instead of vodka or whiskey, try washing your glass out with a really funky, single village mezcal and then adding a spear or two of hand cut ice. Top with Pickett’s Extra Spicy Ginger Syrup and add Q-Club Soda (very fine bubbles) to taste and stir with a pasta noodle with a hole in the middle instead of a straw. Your guests will be enthralled by your environmental prowess!
(with deep apologies to Quentin Tarantino)
Collins Glass- prechilled
- .10 oz. Mezcal
- 2 oz. Junmai Sake’
- .25 oz. Pickett’s Extra Spicy Ginger Syrup
- 2-3 oz. Q-Club Soda
- Lime zest
- Wash your glass out with something really funky in the Mezcal world
- Add one large spear shaped cube of hand cut ice
- Add a nice splash of Pickett’s Spicy Ginger Syrup
- Add a splash or two or more of Q-Club Soda
- Twist of lime zest and serve
Summer calls for iced tea and one of my favorite iced tea recipes involves the use of condensed milk. The stuff is nearly indestructible! It’s pretty sweet so you don’t need too much of it to make a statement.
Prepare a pitcher of fresh iced tea. I enjoy Jasmine and Bergamot. Like Earl Grey.. with Jasmine. Oh it works wonderfully. Do this tea in the sun, your guests will appreciate it. Also, make your ice out of the tea. Their cocktail will not be diluted as much. Add some lemon zest to the ice for color. The way of this drink is to add a touch of Cognac and a touch of Sake’. It’s really East meets West- Europe and the Pacific Rim. Iced Asian/European Tea- Cognac/Sake’… Lovely combinations for your palate!
The Golden Gate Bridge
Rocks Glass- prechilled
- 1 oz. Sun Tea with your choice of tea
- Thin slices of lemon that have been roasted with Angostura bitters and then sliced
- Iced Tea (ice)
- Zested Lemon for the iced tea (ice)
- 1 oz. VSOP Cognac
- 1 oz. Junmai Sake
- Add one large ice cube of iced tea and lemon zest to a Rocks Glass
- Add the iced tea
- Add the Cognac
- Add the Sake
- Stir with a stirrer
- Garnish with the roasted lemon