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.


Bangkok, Thailand

North Korea's At It Again


It's a bit hard for me to believe he did it again. Bastard.

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Now as President Obama, the European Union, and the United Nations thinks about what to do, what are we, the citizens of the world, to do about this evil power sneaking its way via detonated warheads into our collective consciousness? Well, it may be a surprise to you—or it may not be—that I've come up with a cocktail to keep us busy. And its intent is to somehow counteract the iniquitous control of the North Korean leader (just don't ask me exactly how it's to do that).

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I call it Lights Out, Kim Jong-Il and you can make up your own mind about how to exactly interpret that. I know there's not much available in North Korea as far as fresh and good ingredients go (in fact, I don't think there's much available of anything outside what the government has access to), so I've included some good and tasty ingredients that I've found readily available in their friendly neighbor to the south. For the cocktail I made, I used some fresh ginseng I bought a short while ago in Busan and had kept in the freezer of my Bangkok apartment. If you can't make it any time soon to that coastal gambling destination in South Korea, you can pick up some dried ginseng from your local Asian market or Korea Town. (Here are some of the shots I took during my trip to Busan.) The alcohol base is soju, which is a Korean spirit made from rice and/or sweet potato and/or other carbohydrates and—rapidly gaining popularity—is pretty much readily available worldwide these days. It is a nice colorless spirit with a distinctive and light flavor and can greatly vary in alcohol content. For this drink, you should use something a bit stronger than 25%; 40% is ideal. And finally, there's a touch of grenadine in this drink, but it's nothing like the Rose's grenadine most American bars are stocked with. You should use a real pomegranate syrup. Here, I'm recommending a product called Authentic Grenadine by Stirrings. It's a full 30% juice and without all the artificial colors and flavors that most "grenadines" are loaded with, so it only adds a slight touch of color to the cocktail, so don't expect fire engine red to be poured out into your glass.

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Okay, then. Here's how to make one of these detonatable drinks yourself:


Infuse as much soju as you want with ginseng by adding about one fistful of ginseng to one bottle of soju. Allow to sit at room temperature for one week. Do not discard the ginseng.

1½ oz ginseng infused soju
½ oz orange liqueur
½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ oz Stirrings Authentic Grenadine

Fill your favorite stemmed glass with ice and allow to chill while mixing the drink. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Then fill the shaker with ice and shake well. Twist out the ice from your chilled stemmed glass. Strain through a fine strainer (double strainer) into the glass. Garnish with a ginseng root. Enjoy while watching Anderson Cooper.

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Take a sip of the world, but do it slowly.


[Bangkok, Thailand]