Shake and strain into a chilled coupe.
Garnish with a mountain of ginger meringue. [Recipe below]
The only thing better than chilling on the couch with a soft blanket, a warm dog, good company and a well-crafted cocktail is doing so while watching the winter olympics. But what to mix for such an occasion? How about an homage to the host country, South Korea?
I decide to build my cocktail around Soju, a Korean spirit (called Shochu when made in Japan) usually distilled from either barley, rice, sweet potatoes, brown sugar or buckwheat. Tombo Soju is made from barley, and it smells a lot like your standard-issue hot sake, has a light sweetness, and is an easy-going spirit at only 48 proof. Gotta stay straight for my triple-axel re-enactments.
I want to use yuja (aka yuzu) as my citrus element, so I head to the Asian market where I find a small jar of yuzu juice. While poking around, I notice a jar with Korean characters labeled “Citron Tea.” I do a little research and discover that it is not really a tea at all, nor is it made with citrons. It’s a yuja marmalade that is steeped in hot water and sipped as a tea. I decide to use it in place of simple syrup, but I concentrate the flavor and sweetness by mixing two tablespoons of the marmalade with 1/2 cup of boiling water. I let the mixture steep until it’s cooled, then strain out the solids.
For style points, I decide to garnish my cocktail with a mountain of meringue. I make my non-traditional meringue using 2 egg whites and half an ounce of Stirrings Ginger Liqueur. I add the egg whites to my stand mixer’s bowl (make sure it’s dry) and beat them on high until they start to get glossy. Next, I add the liqueur, beat until stiff peaks begin to form, then call them done.
I quickly pour two ounces of soju, half an ounce each of citron tea concentrate and Stirrings Ginger Liqueur, and a quarter ounce of yuzu juice into a shaker, fill it with ice, shake it until frost forms on the outside of the shaker, then strain into a chilled coupe. I top it with an ounce of a Makgeolli, a fun Korean Sparkling Rice Wine I recently discovered. It’s lightly sweet and carbonated.
Finally, I delicately transfer the meringue into a Ziploc bag, cut a small hole across one corner of the bag, then pipe the meringue onto the surface of my cocktail in a circular motion, starting from the outside and working it into a mountain on top of the drink. I take a sip then hand it to my husband to try. He gives it a 10.
2 egg whites
0.5 oz Stirrings Ginger Liqueur
Add the egg whites to a dry bowl and beat them on high until they start to get glossy. Next, add the liqueur, beat until stiff peaks begin to form, then call them done. Transfer into a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with a small hole cut across one corner, then pipe the meringue onto the surface of your cocktail.