Monday, April 8, 2013

Bubble Tea Shakeroo!

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Greenhook Gin made in Brooklyn is a most persuasive and charming liquid libation. I've detected Asian aromatics in the form of exotic cinnamon in each sip of this well-balanced gin, made right in Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. I cannot help but get inspired from a mixology standpoint when I open the top of each uniquely styled bottle of the Greenpoint Gin. My inspiration for a few tall cocktails that speak of exotic ingredients comes from the multitudes of Bahn Mi sandwich restaurants that have made their way across the East River seeking the hip crowd and the much less expensive rents. My palate is also charmed by Korean Fried Chicken, the "Belgian French Fry" of the fried chicken world. (In Korea, the chicken is cooked twice for maximum crispiness.)

It seems like Bubble Tea is in everyone's hands this spring. Bubble Tea is a quite modern, perky beverage. It's lip smacking and the tapioca pearls, soft and chewy against your teeth seem to encourage eating and drinking. Bubble Tea is not just a kid's drink... all kids grow up at some point and their tasty pleasures of childhood evolve right along with their drinking tastes. I think gin works really well with the Jasmine scented Bubble Tea. This cocktail is more than what it appears to be - it's not meant to be taken too seriously, but it's adult fun.

The origin of Bubble Tea comes from Taiwan where the fluorescent hued drinks with the large tapioca pearls are all the rage. I experimented with Bubble Tea and rum last summer. The coconut Bubble Tea goes beautifully with Rhum Agricole from Martinique. This year I'm looking for a different grade of flavor and gin seems to fit the bill. I'm also using The Bitter Truth Bitters in their orange essence to give a bit more spice to the drink. The addition of bitters finds its way into the finish for a sharpness and depth missing from the original intent. It's Brooklyn, no it's the Orient, no, it is really a lovely little cocktail with the soft tapioca pearls balancing out the sharpness of the gin.

 I imagine that this drink would appeal to a sophisticated Asian crowd who are always on the cutting edge of cool and uber-hip. This drink has a perfect combination of flavors that just seems to work with Bahn Mi, the impossibly delicious Vietnamese sandwiches or perhaps a the crunchy and steaming hot Korean Fried Chicken that seems to be in everyone's hands in town. Korean Fried Chicken comes doused in garlic and sweet/sticky soy. I recommend taking sips of the Greenhook Gin woven through carefully measured slurps of the sensuous Bubble Tea. I also add a good splash of Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in the Natural Lemon variety to this drink to give some needed lift. Fizzy goodness! And if this wasn't too much already, The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters will practically tie this drink into wanton submission.

But before you dismiss this drink as just a trendy one shot deal, imagine how refreshing and thirst quenching this drink really is. The Perrier Sparkling water adding a certain fizz to your soon to be fuzzy world.

Enjoy one during a cool spring day, the green hue of the jasmine tea, a mysterious bit of coconut milk with a few shots of the cinnamon tinged Greenhook Gin, plus those dark, sumptuous pearls of tapioca making their way up the wide straw? Now we're talking real fun!

And isn't that what drinking is really about?
Having fun and sharing new flavors? Sure it is.
Just do me one favor, take your time drinking this cocktail. It's deceptively powerful!

Bubble Tea Shakeroo!

For two lovely (refreshingly sweet, yet highly potent) cocktails.

• 4 oz. Greenhook Gin (each drink gets 2 oz.)
• 10 oz. Freshly made Jasmine Bubble Tea with Tapioca Pearls - sweetened coconut milk base (each drink gets about 5 oz. of the Bubble Tea)
• The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
• Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Lemon essence

1. Pour 4 oz. of Greenhook Gin into a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice.
2. Add 10 oz. Jasmine Bubble Tea (with sweetened coconut milk base).
3. Shake for 15 seconds, let settle a bit so the pearls drop to the bottom.
4. Add a few hand-cut cubes of ice to two Collins Glasses.
5. Fill to ¾ height with Bubble Tea and Greenhook Gin mixture.
6. Top with an ounce or two of the Perrier Sparkling Water
7. Finish with several shakes of the Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
8. Garnish with a wide straw for sucking those sweet and gummy pearls up into your mouth where they will charm your tongue!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.

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