Nothing can teach you more about flavour than playing with unusual ingredients. Knowing how to incorporate tastes that you might not normally find in a cocktail into a cocktail will open up your mind to new flavour pairings.
With this in mind, we’ve set in motion an experiment where we’ve asked bartenders to challenge each other to mix up the unusual, the unexpected and the unpredictable and make them useful in a tasty drink/
If you are looking at flavour pairings at home, this is a fun way to understand their reasoning.
We started the exercise off by asking Lou Dare, bar manager at Burrow Bar in Sydney, to create a cocktail with Soy Sauce. Dare has passed the baton to Daniel ‘Paris’ Hilton with the ingredient of Kimchi.
If you are unfamiliar with Kimchi, it is a staple in Korean cuisine, is a traditional side dish of salted and fermented vegetables.
“I think every bartender should be a good cook and should buy a lot of cookbooks,” said Hilton, “go out to restaurants and see what they are serving ingredients with. It’s not just about breaking down flavours that you can see but also those you can taste. It’s all about having fun with pairings and getting fresh ideas.
The syrup is equal parts sugar syrup, strawberries and Kimchi, which is then blended. Hilton has used a radish Kimchi which provides a neutral base, allowing the strawberries to pull forward.
When it comes to making the drink, Hilton is the first to point out that the logical thought is to make a Bloody Mary but he wanted to play around not only with the Kimchi as unusual but to also pair it with something unusual.
“One of the best pieces of advice, I’ve had is from Dre at Old Mates place,” he said. “Years ago he advised me that tomatoes, raspberries and strawberries all share similar chemical balances and compounds to the point that you can interchange them in dishes quite easily.”
Rather than make a Bloody Mary, Hilton decided to swap out the tomato for strawberry, so the result would be a sweet, spicy, savoury cocktail, that’s not that hard to make at home.
Hilton believes that making something like the Kimchi syrup is great for one-off events at home as it is an easy, low intervention, low maintenance syrup.
“With anything that is fermented though, you do need to keep eyes on it. this syrup won’t last more than a week or so in the fridge, as you do still have live cultures on the Kimchi and you don’t want that to explode in your fridge or your cool room.
“So my advice would be to make small batches and use it sooner rather than later.”
- 40ml Strawberry Kimchi Puree
- 45ml Clairin Le Rocher Rum (Sub in Blanco tequila)
- 15ml Aperol
- 5ml miestro Mezcal
- 20ml Lemon Juice
- 20ml Egg White
- 2 dash Saline (10:1 ratio)
Add all ingredients except IPA to a shaker and dry shake. Add ice and shake again before fine straining into a chilled glass. Top with IPA and add a little ice.