A Life Saved Equals A Cocktail Made

Not sure where you are reading this from…   I am writing today from my living room armchair, late at night, contemplating my next cocktail, while tuning into a virtual happy hour.  Pandemic life is weird.  My circumstances as of today are bittersweet.  I am unemployed, but have free time.  I am learning, but have very few ways to apply that new knowledge.  I am trying new things, but having trouble getting results.  Through all of the crazy I find a strange amount of solace in research and development.  Therefore, Nouveau Prohibition is still a thing and it is hitting all the right notes for me now.   

There is a curious libation that goes by the name of The Oriental.  It has a neat backstory of an American abroad in the Philippines that nearly lost his life to a fever, but was saved by a medical practitioner.  As a token of his appreciation, he provided the good doctor with this cocktail recipe.  Funny enough, none, I repeat, none of the original ingredients have any Asian influence.  I selected The Oriental this month because it seemed as a loose parallel for my current situation.  In the broadest of terms, the world has a fever known as COVID-19 and colleagues have been saving my life, a.k.a my sanity, by sending industry related gifts, recipes or challenges. 

Many transcripts of The Oriental state Rye whiskey as the base ingredient.  However, I have also seen renditions claiming to be the traditional recipe, use blended whiskey.  Rather than following the archetype, I very much wanted to try to redirect it, thus providing an influence of ingredients that match the name, at least in flavor profile.  I imagined cherry blossoms and Asian citrus.  With the onset of summer, I also wanted to make a beverage that would stay cool.  I did this recipe development under pandemic ingredient access, but I think it turned out better than it would have in normal times.  Cheers! 


The Oriental

1.5 ounces rye or blended whiskey
.75 ounce sweet vermouth
.75 ounce Cointreau
.5 ounce lime juice

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake for 15 to 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

— — —

1.5 ounces Japanese whiskey
.75 ounce Manischewitz cherry wine
.75 ounce orange liqueur
.5 ounce yuzu juice

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake for 15 to 20 seconds. Strain over fresh ice into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

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