Skip to main content

The Adzuki Sour

People who are following this blog - or simply know me, predict that I am not so keen on vodka. Yeah - as many other craft bartenders, I do think, that vodka is the lazy bartender spirit, - that it makes ok, but never great drinks; - that it should not have been ever invented...

Sounds extreme? I know!

But reality is, that guests are asking for vodka drinks and they sell. Yeah- not because vodka is convincing due to its quality - but because the producing/distribution companies are spending millions and billions into the product positioning, marketing, bribing [well... go figure].

And sometimes, you just can't fight against windmills - can you?

One thing, which I really like to bring forward, was the Blue Jade beverage program. Blue Jade is the Pan Asian restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Dubai - and they have a great reputation within the Dubai dining scene.
And point is: it is kinda fun to play with a specific concept, with specific constraints and expectations.

In the following posts I feature a couple of drinks I came up with, which turned out really great. First of all:

via - obviously without
strawberry jello garnish
The Adzuki Sour
No - adzuki doesn't mean anything fancy - these are just the red small beans, which are the ingredient for the sweet dessert bean paste, which is so popular in Japan.

5 cl toasted mochi infused vodka [used Russian Standard, but any rather modern neutral vodka would do]
2 cl adzuki bean syrup
2 cl freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 piece strawberry jello.

Pour all ingredients except of the strawberry jello into a prechilled ice filled Boston glass [or other shaker].
Shake very strong for at least 18 seconds.
Strain into a prechilled rock glass over ice cubes.
Garnish with the strawberry jello.

Adzuki Syrup
Use one small "brick" adzuki paste - add it to a blender with 3 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water.
Blend until totally smooth [a couple of minutes].
Strain through a cheese cloth or similar.
Label and refrigerate!

Toasted Mochi infused Vodka
Toast "brick" of mochi under the salamander [or toaster oven] until puffed up and golden on the edges.
Add into a container and pour 250 ml vodka over it - the vodka will taste after only few minutes toasty and slightly like mochi [it actually taste very similar like genmaicha without the tea component].
After one day or so strain, label - no refrigeration needed!

I am not often surprised, if it comes to creating cocktails. Yeah - some things are working better and some worse - but this drink just totally took my attention.
It just taste so bright - the mochi and the bean is just underlying flavors which just work so good. One of the few vodka drinks, which really can compete against other spirit cocktails.
The strawberry jello is just a disk of homemade strawberry gelatin dessert [which encapsulates a slice of strawberry] - just makes the drink prettier.

And - sometimes strange coincidences happen [or your subconsciousness steers you into a direction, and you just realize it later] - there is a renowned Japanese dessert, which just features the main ingredients of this cocktail: The Ichigo Daifuku  

So how does it taste? It is surprisingly lemony! There are hints of the toasty mochi coming through, and the starchy sweetness of the red bean syrup. It is a very bright drink, still robust, complex... really great.
I almost would like to pretend, that it is mochi infused spirit and not calling it vodka... I have a reputation to defend!


Popular posts from this blog

How to use citric acid - and why you might not want to use it anyway!

To be honest, I shied away of this topic, because I think, people can misinterpret this - big time.

I don't want to be part of the problem - I want to be part of the solution! But when Chris, over at A Bar Above discussed this subject- I literally could not resist to join into "the discussion".

Here is the video:

I - however take a bit slower approach than Chris.
What is citric acid?
Chemical Compound
Citric acid is a weak organic acid with the formula C6H8O7. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic or sour taste to foods and drinks.
Wikipedia Formula: C6H8O7
Molar Mass: 192.124 g/mol
Melting Point: 153C
Density: 1.66 g/cm3
Boiling point: 175C
Soluble in: Water
Why is it controversial?
In my "mixology world" it is controversial, as citric acid is the stuff, which makes the nightmarish sour mix [preferably in powder form] sour. Yeah - citric acid is the main ingredient in one of the most controversial [and in the modern craft bartending wor…

The Best Alcohol-free Drink - Ipanema

Usually I call them [out of laziness] mocktails - but really I never liked this denomination.
As "mocktails" are usually long drinks, it is even twice wrong, to connect them to a cocktail [which is technically a short drink with alcohol]. 
Apart of this, I am not a big believer in mocktails. Sodas can be fantastic [home made grapefruit soda is fantastic, or homemade ginger ale, ginger beer or any other odd ingredient sodas]. Juices - fine. Lemonades - yes, refreshing and good. And iced teas - can be absolutely amazing. Hence you don't need sickly sweet syrupy juice mixtures.
But yes - there are few good ones.
Most of them a mimicking drinks with alcohol. You can make a pretty good alcohol-free Planters Punch, Hurricane or Mojito, if you are using Caribbean Syrup. Or you can use a juniper syrup for some alcohol-free gin drinks.
A drink which I got to know long time ago, very early in my career, is a bit a different beast [well - you cannot call an alcohol-free drink a bea…

The misconception of Old Tom Gin

These days I have thought a lot about gin. There are a lot of gins coming on the market and some people are already calling it the “new vodka”.

While I do understand this notion, it is (out of my humble perspective) not at all comparable.
Yes - gin has been really exploited in marketing (like vodka) - but it is really like any mainstream trend. Vodka has been always a bit different: while a lot of gins have significant differences (especially due to their different botanicals) - quality vodkas lack the big differences and their subtle differences are subdued within the different moods people are in - or what they have eaten for breakfast or lunch, or if they had one drink before or simply with the mixers, the vodka is consumed with.
Anyway - one big topic I have contemplated about is Old Tom Gin. In my eyes, this style has been largely misrepresented and misunderstood.
The otherwise informative article in Imbibe shows exactly the issue - people get mislead by marketing of liquor comp…