The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2014

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BEHIND THE BAR Cocktails, Cranberries and Cantonese AT THE NEW HAKKASAN IN BEVERLY HILLS, THE CRAFT COCKTAIL IS IN VOGUE AND WORTH THE WAIT story and photos by Jonathan Cristaldi K en Baranda, bartender at the recently opened Hakkasan in Beverly Hills, learned the art of craft cocktailing from Julian Cox when he worked a stint at the now defunct Playa. For Baranda, the chance to work behind the bar at the intoxicatingly beautiful upscale Hakkasan comes with the welcome challenge of making craft cocktails in a high-volume environment. "Our drink times are down to eight minutes on a busy night. And it's exciting to pair drinks with high-quality modern Cantonese cuisine under a Michelin-pedigree roof," says Baranda. Across the board a skillful staff achieves balance in drinks with multiple ingredients and prices ($12–$19 Ken Baranda, bartender at Hakkasan, per cocktail) are manageable fires up some Chinese five-spice over considering the area. Chatting with Baranda back his Coterie of Mirth cocktail. in December, conversation turned toward holiday and winter garnishes and we discovered that he's a big fan of Lounge Attire Premium Cocktail Cranberries. They don't alter a drink's chemistry like other overly sweet cranberries or cherries and for that he's appreciative. "I haven't seen anyone muddle these gems either, and I'm not sure why—they are delicious," he told us while muddling about eight for a cocktail he named the Coterie of Mirth, a lovely cold-weather-inspired quaff with holiday spice meeting bourbon char; the cranberries lend a tangy complexity and texture. Another cocktail, the Shiso Honey, is a site to behold, vivid bright green and wafting of freshly blended shiso; ginger high tones couple with a rich mouthfeel from egg whites—a perfect accompaniment to most any dish at Hakkasan. Topped with a Lounge Attire Cranberry, the red and green colors (Grinch-inspired?) are enough to make any cocktail connoisseur's heart grow two times in size and three times with the first sip. Hakkasan's Shiso Honey cocktail with a Lounge Attire Premium Cocktail Cranberry. Shiso Honey ◗ ◗ ◗ ◗ ◗ 2 oz. Double Cross Vodka 1 oz. lime juice ¾ oz. shiso honey syrup* ¼ oz. fresh ginger juice ½ oz. egg whites ◗ Dry shake, shake with ice, strain over rocks. Garnish with a shiso leaf and Lounge Attire Premium Cocktail Cranberry. *Shiso honey syrup Measure by weight: ◗ 500 grams wildflower honey ◗ 250 grams hot water ◗ 150 grams Vietnamese shiso ◗ In a blender, add hot water and shiso (with leaves and stems).  Let stand for two minutes.  Add honey and blend completely. Strain through fine filter. Coterie of Mirth ◗ ◗ ◗ ◗ ◗ ◗ ◗ ◗ ◗ ◗ ◗ ◗ 5 dried allspice berries ½ oz. maple syrup, grade B Barspoon walnut liqueur Barspoon Manzana Verde (or other apple brandy) lemon juice 8 Lounge Attire Premium Cocktail Cranberries 2 oz. Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey ½ oz. egg whites (optional) Angostura Bitters Peychaud's Bitters rosemary sprig Chinese five-spice   ◗ Muddle the allspice cloves in a shaker. Add the maple syrup, walnut liqueur, apple brandy, lemon juice and Lounge Attire cranberries. Muddle the cranberries, then add the bourbon, egg whites and dash of Angostura. Shake with ice and strain through a fine filter into a Tom Collins glass filled with pellet ice. Garnish with a cranberry skewered with a rosemary sprig. Optional: Sprinkle Chinese five-spice over glass while using a torch to flame the spice and rosemary. Add a couple of dashes of Peychaud's Bitters on top of ice. 44  /  the tasting panel  / january 2014 TP0114_034-65.indd 44 12/19/13 9:27 PM

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