Drink Me

Smack it up, flip it, rub it down. Eat Me.

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If you're in Bangkok and are anything other than a backpacking, flip-flopping tourist frequenting Khaosan Road slurping buckets of brain-freeze blue kamikazeee with an occasional tuk-tuk trip to get your soapy massage or tiger show fix, then you're likely to have at least heard of the restaurant called Eat Me. If you haven't, it isn't one of Bangkok's alleged red light establishments as the name may tend to suggest, but rather one of the city's finer eateries.

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Darren, the Australian owner, opened up the place somewhere around a decade ago, from whence he has built up and improved the design and decor one bit at a time, and continues to do so. He says the menu is something like Australian cuisine with a mix of modern Asian. Much thanks to his sister Cherie, who makes her way to Bangkok every now and again to spend her days in the kitchen perfecting the menu, the food really kicks ass. Look; I definitely love to eat, but that's not why I'm here, is it? For me, it's about the drinks.


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The cocktail menu is so kindly arranged in columns with illustrations so even an illiterate can understand what glass his drink will be served in. This is important; I've seen many a champagne-sipping Palm Beach boy unknowingly stuck napkin-swathing a rocks glass tipple or a high-powered martini drinker being pressured to suck a cocktail through a straw from a highball, both situations having the potential to end up rather messy. The selection—although I haven't yet tried them all—is made with a nice variety of (sometimes locally hard-to-get) spirits and fresh ingredients, which is likely to disappoint you if you've become a fan of the subpar drinks they tend to serve in most places around the city. If you get there when it's not a busy time, you may be lucky enough to get your drink mixed by Adit.

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Adit is the senior bartender and waiter, tending bar and waiting tables much like an aspiring actor in L.A.—his energy always high, his sense of humor always on, and his knowledge of the menu always studied. Aside from this, he's an excellent barman, utilizing both Western and Japanese techniques, and really putting in the love that each libation truly deserves, clearly translating into an overtly better drinking experience. Some of the cocktails he's made for me are the Siam Daiquiri, Fig & Ginger Martini, and the exceptional Bitter & Twisted.

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"Let me make you one of my favorites," he said to me. I was a bit flattered when he slid a chilled martini glass filled with one of my creations in front of me. It was over two years ago that I hopped behind the bar with Adit to show him how to make a Blueberry Joe, one of my New York signatures (recipe here), and still he surprised me with one by recreating it just about spot on.

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In Bangkok? Fancy something better than the Bangkok norm? Make a reservation at Eat Me and say hi to Darren and Adit (and Cherie, if she's there) for me. Have a nice meal, drink a nice cocktail, and, as always, sip slowly.

—Joseph

Bangkok, Thailand

$787 Billion

THE NEW NEW DEAL

So it looks like the US economy will soon be connected to a $787 billion IV drip. And what’s a better way to celebrate than to mix up a drink.

It all seems to give me odd flashbacks of New Deal mentionings in seventh grade Social Studies class back in Connecticut. So in honor of the new economic stimulus plan, I’ll be introducing to those of you not familiar with this classic: The Roosevelt—in honor of the man responsible for the original economic stimulus plan of the Great Depression.

Now, the traditional recipe may remind some of the Bronx cocktail, for those of you that are familiar with what is essentially an OJ-charged perfect martini, but it's actually quite different. Some recipes call for a dark rum while others insist you use a light one. Here I'm going with the light for color and adding a touch of the dark because the molasses twang of the dark rum works well with orange.

THE ROOSEVELT

1½ oz light rum
¼ oz dark Jamaican rum
½ oz dry vermouth
¼ oz orange juice
¼ teaspoon sugar

According to the classic recipe(s), you should mix up all the ingredients and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Another way I additionally improve on this drink is to start off by treating it similar to an Old-Fashioned by muddling a slice of orange with the sugar (you can add a whole teaspoon if you like the sweet stuff). This adds the slightly-bitter and highly aromatic oils of the orange skin, which add a nice dimension to this drink. Then go ahead and shake up all the ingredients with ice. What the orange slice also does is add a bit of orange pulp to the drink. If this is undesirable, simply fine strain it into the chilled cocktail glass. Finally, twist a thin orange peel strip over the drink and kiss the entire rim of the glass with it. Delicious!

Since we're on presidents, there's one particular drink named after the guy that was in office two decades later. It's not necessarily my favorite drink, but let me show you how I've reinvented it.

The classic is called The Eisenhower and the traditional recipe is quite simple. Definitely reminiscent of a grasshopper, but without cream, a different ratio, and on the rocks.

THE EISENHOWER

1½ oz light crème de cacao
½ oz green crème de menthe

Pour ingredients over the rocks in an old-fashioned glass. That’s it; I told you it was simple.

The thing is, though, it’s not exactly the best drink. Being all liqueurs, it’s a bit syrupy, a bit sweet, and not very complex. So I’ve modernized it a bit. Here’s my take, with a suitable name to align with the topic at hand:

THE $787 BILLION ECONOMIC STIMULUS PLAN

1½ oz premium vodka
½ oz Cognac
12 fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon premium cocoa powder
2 teaspoons castor sugar

Muddle the mint leaves, the cocoa powder, and the sugar in a mixing glass. It’s very important to muddle really well. Add a drop or two of the vodka to get the mixture a bit wet and use the graininess of the sugar to grind up the mint into tiny bits. You should end up with a brown/green minty paste with no visible pieces of mint.

Add the Cognac and the vodka. Shake well with ice and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a wedge of good chocolate.

Now with an extra $787 billion green ones about to be rushing through the bloodstream of the economy, we might have a few extra bucks to make a couple good cocktails.


Enjoy! And as with life, sip slowly.

—Joseph