The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2013

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Page 138 of 162

Saké: LOS ANGELES AREA MIXOLOGISTS PROVE THE VERSATILE RICE-BASED BEVERAGE ISN'T JUST FOR SUSHI ANYMORE The American Evolution T hese days, you don't have to seek out a hot Asian fusion restaurant to get a saké cocktail. Just visit any progressive on-premise account, and a saké cocktail will find you. THE TASTING PANEL did just that, and learned that saké has found its center in trendy small-plate restaurants, at glamour hotel bars, in contemporary bistros serving farm-to-table cuisine and even in Mexican-influenced tapas hotspots. Ponder this: We associate gin's origins with Holland, vodka's with Russia and whiskey, they say, started in Ireland way back when. These categories have evolved far beyond their beginnings, and this historical pattern predicts that soon the saké category will expand far beyond its traditional areas of Japanese and fusion cuisine. In fact, the movement is already afoot . . . by Natasha Swords / photos by Donna Fedenko On the Corner of New and "That's Different!" Grilled peaches with burrata, prosciutto, arugula, cherries, pistachio, pesto and balsamic vinaigrette reduction. Makes your mouth water, doesn't it? Now couple that with the Spicy Saké Gimlet, a cocktail comprising junmai saké, fresh basil and jalapeños! This is how The Corner on Adams Avenue in Huntington Beach, in Orange County, celebrates Otokoyama Junmai Saké. "This particular saké fits well with The Corner. We try to do a mix of things but we want people to feel glad they came in and found something done differently, or completely new," says owner Chef Chris Grodach. The Corner, an American tapas restaurant with Asian and Mexican influences, turned two years old on June 15. Grodach, who was Executive Chef at the Montage in Beverly Hills before opening his own business, is clearly one of those perfectionist types, and his customers benefit from his obsession with paving new tastes in culinary and cocktail creation. Otokoyama Junmai is renowned for its silky smooth mouthfeel, and Chris didn't ◗ Two leaves of fresh basil, torn in impose on that character whatsoever when he created halves ◗ 2 slices jalapeño the Spicy Saké Gimlet. Truly, it's ◗ 2 oz. Otokoyama Junmai Saké because of this saké's incredibly ◗ 1 oz. Domaine de Canton well-balanced composition, that ◗ 4 oz. fresh lime juice Chris says he was able to push ◗ Ice the envelope. "The overall sweet and salty ◗ Pour Otokoyama and Domaine de equilibrium of the dish contrasts with the kick from the jalapeño Canton into tin with fresh lime juice in the cocktail. The balsamic and shake. Strain over large cube. vinaigrette reduction introduces Use one basil leaf for rim of glass; use the acid needed to balance out one jalapeño over rim also. Then float this pairing," says Grodach. all in glass. Spicy Saké Gimlet Grilled peaches with burrata make the perfect pairing for Chris Grodach's Spicy Saké Gimlet at The Corner Huntington Beach, CA. 138  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2013 TP0913_104-156.indd 138 8/22/13 10:32 PM

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