This cocktail embraces a respect for the simple harmony between lemon and raw salmon, rediscovered through a cocktail canvas, with the richly marbled salmon as a garnish. The gentle yellow potion hides what depth thyme has given, though only from the eyes. A sweet balance of lychee and banana flashes across the palate. Not unlike a citrus herbal seasoning for fish, perhaps this fruity gin-based version might actually be used as one?!
1 1/3 ounces of fresh lemon juice
1 1/3 ounces of lychee brine (from canned lychee fruits)
2/3 ounce of fresh banana (recommended cultivar: gros michel)
4/5 teaspoon of freshly chopped thyme (recommended cultivar: garden thyme)
1 ounce of Plymouth gin (a unique gin recipe that uses sweet orange peels instead of bitter ones)
2/3 ounce of lychee liqueur
Slice of salmon sashimi for garnish (recommended: wild salmon, which has a less fatty mouth-feel)
See Mixologist’s notes regarding the measurements above.
Total: about 5 ounces per serving (guide for glassware)
Glass half of the Boston shaker
3-piece Cobbler/cocktail shaker
Citrus juicer and cup
Utility knife and chopping board for herbs (preferably a mezzaluna hachoir set)
Small bowl and fork for banana (preferably garlic press or potato ricer)
Champagne saucer glassware (6-7 ounces), for service
Chill the glassware, garnish (except lemon) and alcoholic ingredients until ready for use.
Prepare the fruits and herbs:
Squeeze a small lemon, ideally room temperature, into a cup. Finely chop a small handful of fresh thyme leaves. Using a garlic press, mash small portions of the banana flesh into a small bowl.
Make the cocktail:
Measure the required amounts of the above items into the glass half of the Boston shaker. With the flat side of the muddler placed into the base, apply downward pressure using the insides of your palm. Muddle until the most solid ingredients are well broken up, and filter through the fine strainer into the 3-piece cobbler shaker.
Add the rest of the ingredients into the cobbler shaker, and top up (about ¾ full) with ice cubes, preferably with the largest possible ice cubes. Attach the top half with the built-in strainer, followed by the cap/lid (this sequence prevents too much air from being trapped inside). Shake and chill the cocktail shaker with firm and vigorous strokes until your hands can’t take the cold.
Strain into glassware and garnish with the freshest possible slice of salmon sashimi (rolled around a cocktail pick).
[Mixologist’s notes: 1 teaspoon is equivalent to 5 milliliter (ml), 4/5 teaspoon is equivalent to approximately 4 milliliter (ml); 1 ounce is equivalent to 30 milliliter (ml), 1/3 ounce is equivalent to 10 milliliter (ml), 2/3 ounce is equivalent to 20 milliliter (ml). A mezzaluna hachoir is a half moon-shaped herb chopper blade usually used with a concave chopping board.]
Recipe and photo by Damian Sim
INSPIRATION FOR EPIPHANY
BY DAMIAN SIM
Taking the cue from a salmon theme, the first thing that came to mind was salmon sashimi (quality Japanese sliced raw salmon), which sometimes comes with lemon between the salmon slices that leaves a most delectable crisp tinge in the palate.
Inspired to recreate this experience through a cocktail, lemon served as the culinary canvas for this new recipe. As for the melt-in-your-mouth (when the quality is really good) salmon sashimi, it took the role of the garnish beautifully with its marbling against a rich flamingo-orange hue.
Maintaining the light flavors, lychee and banana were used to balance the lemon, with the latter also adding a little more body to the recipe. Almost like a lemon & herb seasoning used for fish, the lemony thyme was added to give a certain depth to the recipe. Plymouth gin, with its sweet herbal aromatics and smoothness was the natural choice as the spirit base.
A classic Champagne saucer presents the cocktail interpretation of the salmon and lemon experience in a moment of clarity – a harmony of simple elements. Perhaps the recipe might even be used as an actual seasoning for fish?!
Article originally published in January 2007.