Although acai’s reputation as a cure-all superfood has been questioned lately, there’s no denying that the Brazilian berry that became a media darling in recent years is very high in antioxidants–reportedly 57 percent higher than pomegranate. Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) tastes like a cross between blueberry and blackberry with a chocolate finish. Bringing these sweet health benefits to your cocktail glass is Veev, a 60-proof white grain spirit flavored with acai, as well as prickly pear and acerola cherry. Not only can you feel good about counteracting your liver damage when you drink Veev, but the company is progressively green. For every bottle sold, $1 goes toward efforts to restore the Amazon rainforests, and to ensure that harvesting of acai is sustainable. Veev also prides itself on being the only carbon-neutral spirit–the distillery is powered by wind. Distilled from wheat, Veev liqueur mixes like vodka, but its ad campaign hails it as “The End of Vodka,” probably to better appeal to mixologists. Brothers Courtney and Carter Reum, both former Wall Streeters, launched Veev in 2007 after encountering acai on a 2003 surfing trip to Brazil. Really, what’s not to like? I attended a Veev event last night at Delicatessen, and I’ll have details up here soon. In the meantime, try this at the next bar you see Veev in:
Spa Cooler by Veev
2 oz. Veev
4 sprigs of fresh mint
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
4 slices of cucumber
Muddle mint, lime juice, and simple syrup in a mixing glass. Add Veev, cucumber slices, and ice; shake well. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass or double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of cucumber.
At last night’s World Cocktail Day party at Pranna, this light and sweet sparkling sake was used to top many of the cocktails in lieu of soda water or champagne. Imported by sake producer Gekkeikan, the naturally carbonated sake is infused with tropical fruits to give it an extra zip, if you will. It comes in single-serving sized bottles (250 ml priced at $6), and should be served cold.
Effervescent and lightly tropical.
Try it in:
The Blueberry Collins by Plymouth Gin Ambassador Simon Ford
2 oz. gin (Plymouth)
1 oz. ginger liqueur (Domaine de Canton)
1 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
handful of blueberries
Zipang Sparkling Sake
Muddle blueberries in a tall glass. Add other ingredients and ice, top with sparkling sake. Gently stir.
Orange Bittters are an essential ingredient for many classic cocktails. Made from the dried peel of unripe sour or bitter oranges steeped in gin or grain alcohol, the orange character and supporting spices add depth and a subtle flavor with just a few dashes. Bitters became hard to find after 1906 following the Food and Drug Act because their medicinal properties could no longer be proven. Thanks to the cocktail renaissance, this ingredient is back in production, and at the same time, many bartenders are choosing to make their own. Popular brands include Regan’s Orange Bitters #6, Fee Brothers, The Bitter Truth, and Angostura Orange Bitters.
No bar is complete without orange bitters.
Try it in:
The Martinez adapted by Jamie Boudreau
2 oz. gin (try Plymouth)
1 oz. sweet vermouth (try Cinzano)
1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur
1 dash Regan’s orange bitters
1 dash Fee’s orange bitters
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice until the glass starts to frost. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a citrus twist.
If you haven’t tried Beefeater’s new edition yet, Beefeater 24, get thee to a decent cocktail bar or liquor store. Named after its 24-hour steeping process prior to distillation, this variety of the London dry gin has toned down the juniper and includes a mix of 12 botanicals. A blend of rare Japanese sencha and Chinese green teas, grapefruit and Seville orange peels, bitter almond, and orris root are some of the more prominent flavor notes, and the overall taste is smooth and subtly aromatic. Created by Master Distiller Desmond Payne with the cocktail enthusiast in mind, Beefeater 24 is inspired by the fact that Beefeater’s founder, James Burrough, was the son of a tea merchant. Stateside, it’s only available in New York and San Francisco for now, so consider yourself lucky to get a taste from this crafty new bottle.
Perfect for 24-hour party people.
Try it in:
The 24 Martini by Beefeater Brand Ambassador Dan Warner
2 oz. Beefeater 24
1/3 oz. Lillet
3 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a citrus peel.