A perfectly blended Manhattan is awesome.
But sometimes you have to get out of your routine and get a little weird to keep things interesting. And what better place to do it than in Austin, where it’s literally the city’s motto.
Here are three drinks you can order right now to shake up your routine a bit, make you think of cocktails differently, and give you some inspiration for your concoctions at home.
Clarified Milk Punch is a classic cocktail format, but one you wouldn’t normally expect to see with ingredients that otherwise look like a strawberry margarita.
The clarification process usually involves adding hot milk to something sour, like citrus fruits, then letting it curdle, then straining to remove the curd. The technique preserves the drink, but also dampens harsh flavors.
Originally, the tequila drink was served over crushed ice and was keg in order to be effective in the high volume bar. But heavy particles from lemon juice and strawberry puree continued to clog the lines, CEO Tyler Naumann said. They clarified the cocktail, which is getting a little complex from Aperol, using a Chinese and a coffee filter and started serving it on a large ice cube instead of crushed ice.
“The clarification of the milk adds a nice flavorful touch to the drink and is a bit more refined due to the change in serving style,” said Naumann.
Sarukani Gassen, Water trade in Otoko
I like cocktails that contain umami and mix salty and sweet, and I also like uni (sea urchins), which has a brackish and salty sweetness, but I never thought of putting uni in a cocktail until I visit Watertrade, a Japanese-style bar with a long list of Japanese whiskey connected to Otoko, a 12-seat restaurant.
For the current menu, all cocktails are based on Japanese folklore, said bartender Nadia Hernandez. The Sarukani Gassen, or the “The crab and the monkeyUses ingredients found in the story of a monkey who kills a crab and then is killed by the crab’s offspring. She has replaced walnut liqueur with chestnut in the story and also uses permission liquor to complement the uni. A chef at the restaurant suggested that Hernandez incorporate shiso, which is sometimes served with uni in Japan.
Hernandez infuses uni with curacao and persimmon liqueur to form the base of the cocktail, and adds shiso syrup. There’s lime to counter the sweetness, and as the main spirit, Hernandez chose Banks 5 Island Dry Rum, because the cocktail was shaping up to be a sort of daiquiri riff. The walnut liqueur then adds a little depth. It’s topped with a fresh shiso leaf, then sprinkled with dehydrated uni powder for another touch of brackish intensity.
Pearl Diver Punch, Tiki Tatsu Ya
This long-awaited bar from the Tatsu-Ya restaurant group is a tough reservation to get. It’s worth the hype. The Tiki bar with a Japanese influence is an immersive experience, where diners and drinkers are either seated in a “cave” overlooking a two-story rocky Shisa Dragon fountain or upstairs in a beach hideaway, accented by theatrical lighting and music that shifts into high gear if someone orders a mind-blowing group cocktail.
The Pearl Diver Punch is a tribute to Donn Beach’s 1937 Recipe, but with flavors of the Silk Road, said Tristan Pearman, brand and development director for Tatsu-Ya. Tiki Tatsu-Ya blends Caribbean rums with a blend of homemade Gardenia with Indian spices, with tangerine and lime. The end result is a hot, iced buttered rum.
But the best part is that it is served with carnations sprinkled with cardamom bitters which smell so delicious and complement the other flavors of the drink so well that I drank it with my nose buried in it the entire time. Like a nutcase.