By now, bitter cocktails have long basked in the limelight, natural wines keep getting buzzier and we've all even settled on our favorite kombucha varietal. So it's no wonder that savory, salty and, well, odd-bird cocktails are making more appearances in cocktail bars.
Logan McHenry is a New York City-based bartender who started out as a bar back at Má Pêche and parlayed himself into a beverage director position at Subject L.E.S. cocktail bar. One of his creations there is the Fugu Me cocktail, a virtually sugarless drink made from infusing dried Japanese blowfish with shōchū and matcha tea. McHenry's inspiration for the drink came from his wife's Japanese heritage and his subsequent love for funky, fermented foods, such as nattō or umeboshi.
Meanwhile over at Neta, longtime envelope-pusher Aaron Polsky whips up savory specialties like the Rishiri 2 Ways, which is a martini made with kombu and nori, two types of Japanese kelp.
This version of a funk-a-licious cocktail incorporates fish sauce and pickle juice for an all-you-can-brine imbibing excursion. Be warned when using fish sauce: It's potent, so don't use more than a spritz at the bottom of your glass, or you'll think you've stumbled upon a fish market on a hot day. Dive in.
The Fisherman's Folly
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: N/A
Total Time: 10 minutes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
One 2-inch-wide strip grapefruit peel
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon water
1½ ounces sake
1 ounce gin
½ ounce pickle juice
½ ounce fresh grapefruit juice
¼ teaspoon matcha tea powder
1. Place the salt on a small plate. Rub the grapefruit peel around the rim of a rocks glass. Rim the glass with salt.
2. In a small spritz bottle, combine the fish sauce and water. Spritz the bottom of the rocks glass once with the fish sauce solution. Fill the glass with ice.
3. In a cocktail shaker, combine the sake, gin, pickle juice, grapefruit juice and matcha powder. Fill the shaker with ice. Shake and pour into the prepared rocks glass. And serve.