Thank you to the House of Suntory for partnering with Half Full and sponsoring this special edition of 10 Rounds
What inspired you to create this cocktail? “The cooking show Chopped with mystery ingredients and the thought of how nice it would be to be on an island right now. I love the spontaneity of cocktails where you just make them happen out of nowhere: Extra almond extract from some cookies a friend made, passion fruit purée I use in smoothies, limes from tacos, sugar, soda and Roku Gin. Love.”
When would you serve this drink? “Right after chores: Walked the dog, got the mail, did emails, finished the laundry, cleaned up the apartment, cooked lunch, ate it, cleaned up…This is nice to enjoy while you stare at a blue sky for a bit before you head right back to it.”
What music would you pair it with? “The Tom Tom Club’s 'Genius of Love.' It’s nice and funky, and for me it doesn’t matter where I am or what’s on my mind, it always puts a smile on my face and gets me grooving. Great for an afternoon drink.”
What food would you pair it with? “I’d pair it with tacos, definitely tacos. Lime, spice, and cilantro complement the passion fruit, almond, and gin. The soda keeps everything from getting too heavy.”
Name the person (dead or alive) you’d like to make this cocktail for. “The first person to come to mind is Charlie Chaplin. This cocktail is playful, it’s a party, kind of like how he was with comedy. I think with the Tom Tom Club, tacos, and this drink, we’d be having a blast. The whole memory would be hilarious.”
What advice would you give someone making this drink? “Have fun with it. Everyone’s palate is different, too, so play with the recipe. For example, add an extra drop of almond extract or a little less soda to make the flavors more intense.”
Why do you think Roku® Gin works so well in this recipe? “Roku Gin works excellently in this cocktail because the botanicals play so nicely with the almond, passion fruit, and citrus flavors. It has a nice flavor that layers in with the other ingredients.”
How do you explain the recent rise in popularity of Japanese spirits in America? “I think the rise in popularity of Japanese spirits is due to a few things, availability, exposure, and bartenders. At my bar some people are always looking to try new things, exotic, far-off made spirits, companies they may not be familiar with, and I get to throw really well-made Japanese spirits in the mix.”
What book on cocktails or spirits is your go-to resource? “The Gentleman’s Companion. It’s a book from 1939, written by Charles H. Baker Jr. The recipes are as entertaining as Baker’s witty social commentary. He sailed and flew his way around the world interviewing dignitaries and politicians, recording their recipes while he ate and drank with them.”
What is your favorite piece of barware? “My favorite piece of barware would have to be my rose gold Japanese shaking tins. I only bust these out for special guests and even more special occasions. They just look so dang fresh and shaking cocktails in them is heavenly.”
By Anthony Valencia
- 4 parts Roku® Gin (Order on Drizly)
- 1.5 parts Lime and passion fruit juices (equal parts)
- 1.5 parts Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
- 4 drops Almond extract
- Club soda
- Glass: Collins or mugs
- Garnish: Lime wheel
This recipe makes two servings. Add all the ingredients, except the club soda, to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into two Collins glasses (or mugs) each filled with fresh ice. Top both with club soda, stir and garnish with lime wheels.
Interview has been condensed and edited.
Roku® Gin, 43% Alc./Vol. ©2020 Beam Suntory Import Co., Chicago, IL. Drink Responsibly.