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Category Archives: Vodka


“Ensanguining the skies      How heavily it dies      Into the west away

Past touch and sight and sound       Not further to be found

How hopeless underground        Lies the remorseful day.”

A Bloody Mary for Inspector Morse – Heirloom tomato water, Vodka, Globe basil, super spicy Pimientone de Padró and lime juice. Garnished with Indigo Rose.


A baking ingredient for spiking whipped cream, last year I found Kahlua actually goes nicely with muddled jalapeño.

A while back Chris at Alexander’s Steakhouse mentioned that he likes to experiment with Indonesian flavors nowadays and uses ‘long pepper’. Cylindrical and baby pinecone looking, it is often used in Indonesian and Indian cuisines and has an assertive peppery taste and nose.

I opt for a simple drink to let the spice be the star. These days I also 100% cold-infuse spices versus the half-hot-half-cold method. Just chop 2 long peppers into sandy grits and let them sit for at least 1 day or 2 in a bottle of Ketel One.

An unapologeticly spicy drink.

  • 1 ½ oz long pepper infused Ketel One
  • ½ oz (plus a tiny splash if you prefer a less sour drink) Kahlua
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice

Lots o'Passion

December 24, 2010

Finally got hold of a bottle of passion fruit juice. I don’t get it. All these cocktail books mention passion fruit puree/juice like it is as common as apple juice that you can just pick some up at local 7-Eleven … not! Anyway, William got a bottle for $2.99 at Mi Pueblo and it is excellent.

It is a crowd pleaser as William commented. Easy to like but totally out of place on Xmas eve, in northern hemisphere anyway. Definitely a summer drink than winter, even though there is cranberry juice. It is like eating watermelon in December. No matter how good it is, it just feels … wrong.

Based on Lots o’Passion from MixShakeStir (Makes VERY large 2, reasonable 3):

  • 3.5oz Hangar One vodka
  • 1.5oz Bols Orange Curacao
  • 2 oz cranberry juice
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz passion fruit juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • 2 lime wheels as garnish

Yuzu Friendly

August 19/21, 2010 (part of Cocktail Chronicle)

The original recipe calls for Yuzu-Honey Marmalade which I thought is too exotic for my down home establishment.


But then every month at Sushi Sam, I swoon over Chef Ito’s amaebi in yuzu sauce. Its citrus flavor is so bright, it practically makes the amaebi jump in my mouth. What would it do to a mixed drink?

One day William came home with a bottle of pure yuzu juice, $14.95 for 12 oz, from Berkeley’s ultra gourmet The Pasta Shop. Now I can find out.

It is extremely tart and sharp by itself. Diluted with alcohol, its distinctly bitter orangy character emerges, with a strong backbone of acidity.

Can’t say I can think of a substitute … I can muddle orange peels but I can’t add the strong acidity without also putting in other flavors, like lime or lemon. Maybe the $14.95 is well-spent.

Inspired by Yuzu Friendly in MIXSHAKESTIR (Makes 2)

  • 3 oz (6 tbsp) vodka
  • 1.5 oz (3 tbsp) Lillet Blanc
  • 0.75 oz (1 ½ tbsp) Yuzu juice
  • 0.2 oz simple syrup
  1. Mix all in a shaker with ice. Shake and serve.