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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!


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