Thursday, June 26, 2008

Drink Du Jour- The Morinaga Cocktail

I was in Anzen Japanese Market the other day, and I spotted something I haven't seen before, sparkling sake. Sepcifically, it was Gekkeikan Zipang sparkling sake, and while I am not usually one to create a drink around sake, I've been wanting to play with more asian ingredients recently. I decided to use create a new drink using the Champagne Cocktail as a base, but I wanted to give it my own twist (of course).
With a traditional Champagne Cocktail, you use a bitters soaked sugar cube and champagne, nice and simple. I decided that I did want to use bitters, but I needed something to work with the flavor profile of the sake. I chose Fee Brothers Peach Bitters, which ended up being a great choice.
I also didn't want to just add sugar into the cocktail. I wanted to create something that would deliver the sugar, but also create complexity and depth in the drink. I found just the thing in my refrigerator, a half drunk bottle of Barnard Griffin Rose of Sangiovese. I figured the bottle would go south soon, so I took a cup and a half of the rose, put it in a saucepan with a cup of granulated sugar, kicked up the heat on the burners a bit and made a nice Sangiovese simple syrup. I love this stuff, its full of ripe strawberry flavors, and adds a nice deep pink color to whatever you use it in. I love drinking the Barnard Griffin rose during the warm summer months (its perfect with bbq'ed chicken), and now, I have a use for unfinished bottles.
Next, I felt like the drink would benefit from some regular sake to give it a bit more solidness. I have exactly one bottle of sake in the house, Momokawa's G Sake. I'm not a big sake fan, but its local Oregon product, so its in the old liquor cabinet. The flavor profile worked really well with the sparkling sake, so its more luck than anything as I wouldn't have a clue which sake to use if this one hadn't worked out. To be honest, I would have abandoned the drink as a failure.
So here is the drink. Simple proportions, simple ingredients, and yet, as Raena said, "Thats damn tasty". Its a nice switch from more traditional sparkling options and a nice libation for a warm summer evening.

The Morinaga Cocktail
1 oz G Sake
1 oz Barnard Griffin Rose of Sangiovese simple syrup
2 dashes Fee Bros Peach Bitters
Gekkeikan Sparkling Sake to fill

Build in a champagne flute (note that I said flute not coupe on this one), and top with sparkling sake. No garnish needed.


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