Based on the sensuous flavors of vanilla, with a light ginger twist and citrus notes, “Vanilla Sea” was specially created by Damian Sim of Provocachic™ to pair with our ocean gem, the lobster. The aroma of the sage leaves teases the rich flavors in this cocktail, and overall, the bubbly cocktail offers a light yet provocative experience.
2 servings; 12 ounces
For the vanilla cane syrup:
1 cup cane sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla pod
For the drink:
2 ounces vanilla flavored vodka
2/3 teaspoon freshly grated young ginger (Jamaican ginger recommended)
1 ounce fresh lime juice (Tahitian lime recommended)
1 ounce fresh Thai Mandarin orange juice (see Mixologist’s Note)
1 1/3 ounces vanilla cane syrup
Pinch of fleur de sel
4 ounces pear juice (recommended cultivar: honey pear)
2 ounces bitter lemon drink (i.e. Schweppes)
2 Thai mandarin orange rinds
Raspberries and fresh sage leaves, for garnish
[Mixologist’s Note: Thai Mandarin Orange (Som Khiew Wahn) is a thin-skinned orange which remains green when ripe, and is identical in flavor to the Mandarin orange known in the West, which may be used as a substitute. The whole fruit of the Som Khiew Wahn is used for desserts and flavoring.]
Champagne flutes for service
Prepare the vanilla syrup:
Make a simple syrup by combining the cane sugar, vanilla pod and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Chill in the refrigerator. This syrup will keep for two weeks in a sealed airtight container.
Make the cocktail:
Chill the vodka, vanilla syrup, bitter lemon drink, garnishes and glassware in the refrigerator. Scrape off the ginger skin with the edge of a spoon and grate 1/3 teaspoon. Squeeze the mandarin orange, pear and lime juices and place into the cocktail shaker with all the liquid ingredients except the bitter lemon drink.
Prepare the garnish:
Cut a small slit at the tip of the raspberry and push it down (further than the cut) along the rim of the glassware (with the raspberry “bowl” facing up). Roll the sage leaf into a pointed cone and insert into the raspberry “bowl.”
Top up cocktail shaker (about ¾ full) with ice cubes, preferably with the largest possible ice cubes.
Shake and chill cocktail shaker with firm, concise & vigorous strokes until your hands can’t take the cold.
Strain the ingredients into the champagne flute, and top up with the bitter lemon drink. Take a small piece of the mandarin orange rind, with the colored side facing down just above the cocktail, break and squeeze so that the zest and essential oils fall into the drink. Discard the rind.
Recipe and photo by Damian Sim
INSPIRATION FOR VANILLA SEA
BY DAMIAN SIM
Vanilla, being one of the most common “comfort” flavors, offers a wonderful foundation to create an evocative cocktail experience. The sensuous flavor of vanilla is partnered in this case with feisty ginger, itself boasting an aphrodisiac reputation too.
The recipe worked towards a light balance, both toward taste and color, the latter evocative of salt water – the sea. The subtle hue also aims to disguise the ginger “surprise.”
In contrast, the raspberry garnish adds a splash of energy with its rich hue, while rounding off the uplifting citrus notes (especially those of the orange zest). The curves of the sage leaf add to the movement of the creation, like the faithful waves by the seaside, and balance, like the proportions in nature’s designs.
The name reaches out to the appeal of the unpretentious ocean waves, and reflects the romantic simplicity of the theme. The “Vanilla Sea” experience offers a twist, as one “discovers” the ginger while being intrigued by the aroma of the sage leaf.
With calming sage and a quiet surprise, “Vanilla Sea” will open your mind and senses.