It was the summer of 2008 and Los Angeles was at the dawn of the craft cocktail movement. In the small dark Library Bar of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, a new bartender named Matthew Biancaniello leaned over to a coworker and whispered, “What’s in a cosmopolitan?”
That anecdote seems completely implausible to me since now Matt forages and scours farmers’ markets all over the world to source 15-ingredient Bloody Marys and cocktail concoctions that feature uni and emu eggs. His favorite recipes are compiled in a new book, “Eat Your Drink: Culinary Cocktails.”
This drink “Lost in Laos” was the first time I really understood how the talents in the craft cocktail movement were exploring flavor in a glass.
“Lost in Laos” cocktail
Inspired by legendary bartender Scott Beattie and the flavors of the coconut milk-based tom kha gai soup, this cocktail is infused with fresh lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, turmeric and Thai basil leaves.
Yield: Makes 1 serving
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz agave syrup (recipe follows below)
½ oz Green Chartreuse
¼ oz fresh turmeric
6 kaffir lime leaves
2 oz Caprock Gin
2 oz fresh coconut milk*
A sprig of flowering Thai basil, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the lime juice, agave syrup, the Green Chartreuse, turmeric and three of the kaffir lime leaves. Next, add the gin, fresh coconut milk and ice. Shake, then strain the infusion into a collins glass filled with ice.
To garnish, slide the remaining three kaffir lime leaves down the sides of the glass and slide in the sprig of Thai basil on top (see photo for reference).
*Note: Coconut milk recipe available here.
Yield: Makes 2 cups
1 cup blue agave nectar
1 cup water
In a bowl, combine 1 cup agave nectar and 1 cup water. Stir until the agave has dissolved in the water.
To store: The agave syrup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
From “Eat Your Drink: Culinary Cocktails” by Matthew Biancaniello. Copyright © 2016 by Matthew Biancaniello. Reprinted by permission of Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.