Luck ‘o the Japanese

December 29, 2009
Osaka Dry Martini

December 29, 2009
Irish Martini

I wouldn’t exactly call pairing these two up on the same evening a “good” idea, then again, I’m generally not known for intelligent decisions after that first cocktail.  The Osaka Dry martini is 6 parts vodka, 1 part sake, and a pickled plum garnish.  A pickled plum??  Where in God’s name am I supposed to find a pickled plum?  Okay, sometimes these garnishes are just so silly that I don’t even bother.  Scratch the pickled plum, I don’t want to spend a week in a corner having someone refer to me as Little Jack, ok?  I skipped the garnish initially, but I really do hate naked drinks, so then I added an almond stuffed olive.  Not a bad call.  This is actually a pretty good, smooth drink.  I like sake anyway, and in general find it to be fairly neutral in taste – not as much as vodka is, but it is pretty mild.  This is a good combo.  Maybe I should have gone the extra mile and looked for that pickled plum but my goal is to avoid shopping between Christmas and New Year’s so I can stay away from the maddening post-holiday crowds.  I wonder if a raisin would have worked.  No, wait, that’s a grape.  Isn’t a pickled plum just a prune?  I guess it isn’t really “pickled”, it’s dried.  Hmm.  Either way, I didn’t care that much and it was decent with the olive, a good 4-star drink, best served very, very cold with ice slivers (shaken hard and long until your shaker is too cold to hold onto) in it – outstanding.  I admit I didn’t spend a lot of time lingering over what type of sake to buy – there are as many varieties out there as there are of any wine, with hints of apple, or anise, lemongrass, pear, and so forth.  I picked up a bottle that was smaller (to save space in the fridge) and looked pretty.  Yeah, okay, I’m a girl.  I’m sure sake connoisseurs the world over are shuddering in horror at my complete lack of refinement, but it wouldn’t be the first time (just a different source!).   The variety is Ginjo-Shu.  I confess, until looking into this online, I had no idea what went into the making of sake or the varieties – and how on earth does one measure whether 30% or 40% of a grain of rice has been milled away?  It’s a GRAIN OF RICE.  It’s very TINY.  Never mind, don’t answer that question.  I love the flavor profiles on this website (below), they remind me of a stereo equalizer.  I have had sakes that I’ve liked more than others in my lifetime, now I wish I’d paid a little more attention as to what kind they were.  Looking this over, a Junmai-Shu variety sounds more like something I’d go for, I like my equalizer to be a bit more mixed up, as it were. But for one part of sake to 6 parts of vodka?  I’ll take the pretty and cute little bottle, thank you very much.

Next time get off your sorry ass and get a pickled plum! So sayeth McSulu, the Japanese-Irish Lucky Cat.

 Now onto another part of the world, we have the Irish Martini, so named for the dollop of Irish whiskey used in it.  The drink is 6 parts buffalo grass vodka, 1 part dry vermouth, a glass rinsed with Irish whiskey (then poured out), and a lemon twist garnish.  Not a whole lot of whiskey going into this one, kind of along the lines of what the In and Out martini does with vermouth.  I do like Irish whiskey on occasion – my old boss at S-Cubed back in 1989, Andrew Wilson, was a good Irishman with a delightful voice, who swore than Jameson’s was far superior to Bushmill’s, and I figure he’s consumed a lot more of the stuff than I ever will in my lifetime.  I’d run out awhile back, so I picked up another bottle of Jameson’s.  I find it also comes in handy when cough syrup doesn’t quite work either, a good swig of that and I can usually stop coughing long enough to get to sleep if I’m ill.  Or even if I’m not – 🙂 

You know, I’ve never understood what difference it makes whether the “Lucky Cat” has its right paw or left paw raised.  I’ll have to ask my friend Maya about that one and get back to you (or better yet, this is my test to see if she actually reads this blog, maybe she can provide the answer for all of us!)  🙂  And what does it mean when the Lucky Cat has both paws up in the air?  That someone just stole his wallet? 

Now the buffalo grass vodka does have a bit of a harsh taste to it, not readily mellowed by dry vermouth, but I have to say, surprisingly, that little bit of Irish whiskey imparts a sweetness/smokiness to this cocktail that really goes a long way.  Not quite a four star drink but I’ll give it an honest 3.75 stars, and certainly compared to the prior buffalo grass cocktails of the Hoosier and the Gilroy, this one is infinitely superior.  I don’t know how many buffalo grass martinis I’ll be mixing up in my lifetime but so far this rules. 

Slan and Sayonora.


~ by rachelroust on January 3, 2010.

One Response to “Luck ‘o the Japanese”

  1. Now that I remembered, YES, I actually have read your blog, you Wench. I thought you were going to ask me where to get pickled plums – Try Nijiya on Convoy or Mitsuwa in the same general area. I’m not convinced that a Japanese pickled plum will make a good martini garnish, but give it a try and let me know. Anyway, on to your question about the Lucky Cat, which is called Maneki Neko in Japan. Raised left paw is to bring in customers, and raised right paw is for wealth and good luck. I believe that there is some point of controversy, as some believe it’s the other way round. Hope this helps and happy martini drinking!!

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