Daily Archives: January 14, 2019

The Japanese Cocktail

Sunday evening we attended “Behind the Stick” cocktail class at River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia.  Our talented “Cocktail Professor” was
was Shane Lumpp, Bar Manager extraordinaire (pictured below) of River and Rail. He provided us with lots of spirited information and here’s some of the highlights…

Shane Lumpp, Bar Manager, River and Rail

Our class was about rum and brandy.

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River and Rail snacks…house-made Chorizo Sausage with rum soaked pineapple and cheese including “Dancing Fern” a Reblochon-style cheese.

The first cocktail Shane served us was a classic daiquiri. This is one of his favorite cocktails and he said that he can tell the skill of a bartender by the daiquiri he/she makes. It all starts with the rum. Then the cocktail will have small bubbles on the top from shaking it properly before pouring it into the glass. It should be more tart than sweet and the lime flavor should pop on your tongue. Shane used Flor de Caña rum for our daiquiris. This rum is made in Nicaragua.

Shane shakin’ our cocktails!
Classic Daiquiri

Shane gave us a taste of Smith and Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum neat. Powerful stuff! He asked us to sniff the rum before drinking it, just like you would taste a fine scotch. He explained that when ice is added to a cocktail that the larger the ice cube the better. Large ice cubes do not dissolve as quickly as smaller cubes so they do not dilute the cocktail as fast.

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To make Shane’s daiquiri: 2 parts spirit (rum), 1 part citrus (lime juice) and 1 part sweetner (simple syrup).

He noted that lime gives a cocktail tart flavor and lemon gives it a sour flavor.

“Brandy” means burning wine. It can be made from many fruits including apple, peach, pear and apricot. Cognac is a variety of brandy named after the town Cognac, France. It is made from white wine.

Japanese Cocktail

The Japanese cocktail is a cognac and orgeat syrup drink with a bit of citrus. Orgeat syrup is a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water or orange flower water.
The story behind the name:
This vanguard cocktail perhaps had something to do with a visit (or four) paid to Thomas’s New York City bar on Broadway by a member of Japan’s first diplomatic mission to America, Tateishi Onojirou Noriyuki, or “Tommy,” as he was known among the ladies. The delegation resided quite near Thomas’s saloon, and Tommy quickly drummed up a reputation for spending plenty of nights out on the town. It can be assumed that a raucous evening or two spent at the bar would be enough cause for Thomas to christen a cocktail in honor of his Japanese regular. Imbibe! David Wondrich

Japanese Cocktail: 2 ounces cognac, 1/2 ounce orgeat syrup, 1/4 ounce lemon juice. Shake and strain into a Nick and Nora cocktail glass. Nick and Nora cocktail glasses hold just 5.5 ounces. Agent Nick and Nora glass, named after the cinematic husband-and-wife detective team, brings back the suave sophistication of 1930s high life.

Rémy Martin…how to taste cognac:

During the aperitif, the cognac is usually consumed neat, but adding a drop of water reveals more fruity, floral and spicy aromas and makes the tasting experience smoother. Similarly, adding two ice cubes will dilute the cognac and reduce the alcohol percentage, which reveals these aromas while making the taste more refreshing. The goal is that the ice cubes melt slowly, revealing new aromas at each step.

Cognac can even be consumed frozen, which makes the liquid very viscous (it does not freeze due to the high alcohol level), and gives an experience that is almost velvety in the mouth. This pairs particularly well with sea food: oysters, lobster, or sushi.

For a simple long drink as an aperitif, the cognac can be consumed with tonic or ginger ale. This brings out notes of fresh fruit, even liquorice, in a Rémy Martin VSOP. This is how cognac is normally enjoyed by the locals in the Cognac area as an apéritif.

Caipirinha ~ The national cocktail of Brazil made with cachaça, sugar, and lime. Cachaca is a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice.

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