4.0 out of 5 stars Great recipes for Asian-themed drinks
Really, there is no such thing as an “Asian Cocktail.” Cocktails are entirely a Western invention, and pretty much every drink in this book is just your regular cocktail with an “Asian twist,” the inclusion of a few different ingredients, a bit of ginger here, a dash of sake there, a pour of green tea liqueur…but sometimes authenticity isn’t required, and all you want is a yummy drink!
“Asian Cocktails” collects cocktail recipes from across the US, various concoctions created by imaginative bartenders looking to make a signature drink to delight their customers. The recipes are separated by alcohol, such as “Gin-based,” “Vodka-based,” “Rum-based,” “Whiskey-based” etc…all of them have Orientalist names, like the “Rising Sun,” the “Tokyo Rose,” and the “Zen Phizz.” Many of them are simple variations on already popular drinks, like the “Kyoto Colada” substituting sake for the rum in a Pina Colada, or the “Tokyo Manhattan” with a mix of sake and plum wine with your usual bitters. The older the recipe is, the less “Asian” it is, like the “Japanese Cocktail,” a recipe from 1862 bar book that combines brandy, angostura bitters and almond syrup.
Aside from just some fun new cocktail ideas, “Asian Cocktails” has a surprising secret. Many of the recipes here call for ingredients that would be extremely hard to buy, like ginger-infused vodka or jujube jam. Fortunately, the author doesn’t leave you stranded and gives recipes for creating all of these exotic mixtures. I have had far more fun working my way through the recipes for “Syrups and Infused Spirits” than I have had making the cocktails themselves. “Thai Basil Syrup,” “Homemade Grenadine,” “Pomegranate-Ginger Syrup,” “Berry-Infused Gin,” “Jasmine-Infused Vodka,” “Pepper-Infused Shochu” and “Vanilla Bean-Infused Rum” are all wonders that have come from kitchen since getting this book.