Despite the title, you would have thought that I would list all the cocktails which originated in Asia, apart from the Singapore Sling, yes, Asia have a few, I would say, but majority would not be from Asia, that’s why you would see bartenders doing their Asian twists to some classic cocktails. It’s very challenging and fun but not all people would really like the exotic taste of it. I did quite a fewcocktail re-inventions before, like I would pick my favourite classic cocktails, and be bold enough to use all the exotic ingredients I have on hand. From different herbs and spices, who have to familiarize yourself to it as not to overpower the cocktails and the use of rights spirits as well.
Here are some Asian ingredients which you can use if you are planning to do some classic cocktails recreations:
1.Kaffir Lime Leaf– used by some bartenders in gin and tonic, the aroma of it is really nice especially when you tear the leaves. I must say, kaffir lime leaves are even harder to substitute than mint leaves.
2.Lemongrass – If you are planning to use it, the inner layer would be the nicer, sweeter and more delicate compare to the outer layer.
3.Kumquat – although it has a very subtle taste, produce aslight citrus taste, it is still a good ingredient to use for kumquat mojitos, juleps and they can also be great for garnishes.
4.Chili– some people cannot really take chilli, so really have to be careful when using it as an ingredient and use a very small amount because it might overpower the rest of the ingredients.
5.Ginger– a bit of heat and citrus for that creamy cocktails. Fruity cocktails also goes well with ginger with white spirits used.
6. Yuzu – taste is between grapefruit and mandarin orange, and some lemony taste as well and very aromatic, perfect for yuzu sours.
7.Cilantro – has a subtle citrusy taste that’s why it could work of Asian inspired mojitos, juleps.
8.Cloves– This will definitely work for both brown and white spirits, but you have to avoid too much of this because it’s going to bebitter if it’s too much.
9.Galangal – same family as the ginger, the heat from galangal is comparable to ginger but it has a very menthol like aroma.
10.Garam Masala – such a strong blend of spices and herbs, it has cloves, star anise, peppercorns, coriander, nutmeg, cumin, cardamom, garlic, ginger and a few more. This would be great for gin, vodka or rum based cocktails, citrusy or a bit a cream.
11.Miso Paste – because of its umami rich taste, it is also a fun ingredient to use, given the right technique and proper spirits.
12.Pandan– I would describe Pandan like acreamy sweet leaf, or a tropical vanilla. Good for extracting the essence of it for syrups or infusions.
13.Gula Melaka – the slight burn, toasty taste of it is very unique and perfect for both mocktails and cocktails.
14.Star Anise– mildy sweet flavor, and has a very licorice-like. I’ve used it in rum based cocktails before.
15.Tamarind – When making asian sours, this is a good substitute for the citrus.
16.Turmeric – still part of the ginger family, it has a very earthy taste, suitable for brown spirits like bourbon.
Have you done any Asian inspired cocktails or mocktails before? What ingredients did you use? Next time you host an Asian inspired cocktail party, let us know the cocktails you made and we would love to feature it here too! #ASKJAM