2 oz Tozai Snow Maiden Junmai Nigori Sake
1 oz Green Hat Classic Gin
1 oz cucumber juice
1.5 tsp rice vinegar syrup
0.5 tsp Miso Master Organic Mellow White Miso
Pour rice vinegar syrup into shaker, use a bar spoon to muddle and stir miso into it, then add remaining ingredients and ice and shake until the outside of the shaker is frosted. Strain into chilled coupe.
Garnish with cucumber wheel.
I’ve been cooking my way through the recipes detailed in “The Way We Cook Now” in the April issue of Bon Appetit. I’ve found many new favorites, including Shaved Fennel Salad, Lemon Chicken Thighs [my husband’s new pet name for me], and the Za’atar + Feta Smashed Cucumber Salad. The latter inspired this week’s cocktail. The first phase in making the salad is to gently smash 5 persian cucumbers with a rolling pin, tear them into irregular chunks, toss them with a bit of salt in a medium bowl, then let them sit for at least 5 minutes and up to an hour. Letting them sit allows the salt to draw water out of the cucumbers, which the the recipe tells you to drain off and discard.
I left the cucumbers for an hour, but the liquid they’d released smelled so good that I couldn’t throw it away. I decided slightly salty cucumber juice would be an excellent platform for a spring cocktail, but I don’t want to force all of you to make smashed cucumber salads [even though smashing is fun]. Instead, I take out my Acme Juicer and feed half an English cucumber through it, yielding a cup of juice.
I know immediately that I will use gin (for backbone) and the Tozai Snow Maiden Junmai Nigori Sake (for body) I’ve had on hand to make many a Boulevardier for Cherry’s Sake. I still have to decide how to introduce acid, sugar and salt. Since I’ve had a lot of cucumber salads that use rice vinegar and sugar, I make a rice vinegar syrup. Measuring my ingredients on a scale, I eschew the typical 1:1 formula for syrups which will be too sweet for the sake, and instead use 4 ounces of vinegar and 2 ounces of sugar.
I was still toying with the salt portion of the equation when I joined friends for dinner at Baltimore’s Clavel, a Mezcalaría and Taquería Sinaloense serving up fantastic cocktails and tacos in a setting lifted straight out of LA. I ordered their Flor Mojada cocktail, and it blew me away. The secret ingredient? White miso. Salty, funky and a little floral, it struck me as the perfect addition for my drink.
The resulting cocktail is relatively low octane, with just an ounce of gin paired with 2 ounces of sake, an ounce of cucumber juice, one and a half teaspoons of rice vinegar syrup and a half teaspoon of miso, but it goes down way too easy. Hence the name, Mother’s Ruin – the perfect addition to your Mother’s Day Brunch.
Rice Vinegar Syrup
4 oz Organic Rice Vinegar
2 oz sugar
In a small saucepan, stir sugar into vinegar until it dissolves. Bring to a boil, then let cool before using. Keeps for at least a month
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