So it appears Baltimore has made it through this so-called "winter" and is meandering ever closer to a legitimate "spring". Not much to complain about here, being a warm-weather native... although a couple snow days off work wouldn't have hurt. (You'll get that right next year, I hope... Hear me, winter!?)
Anyway, this only means that the trend of spring beverages appearing earlier and earlier each year actually makes sense this time. We've had our Bell's Hopslam and our New Belgium Dig and whatnot, but there's also the seasonal cocktail, which I anticipate quite excitedly each spring. At many bars and restaurants, you might have to ask if there's anything new for the season. But luckily at RA Sushi in Harbor East, they've thought ahead and released two new pineapple concoctions just in time for this amazing weather...
First, we have the Pineapple Express: a light and refreshing variation on a mojito. Made with muddled pineapple, coconut shochu (a clear distilled liquor from Japan), and St. Germain elderflower liqueur, topped off with Prosecco, this is a bit of a girly drink, but its sweetness is not overpowering. The muddled pineapple can be troublesome if it settles, but keep it mixed with the Prosecco and you can enjoy a pleasant taste that hints at the approach of summer. Plus it pairs well with the Chili Ponzu Yellowtail sashimi the manager Nikki suggested, which is always a bonus.
- Pineapple Express
1.25 oz. Kai Young Coconut Shochu
.25 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
3 oz. pineapple juice
.25 oz. lemon juice (2 lemons)
Splash of Prosecco
2 Pineapple wedges
Slice of lime
- Preparation: Muddle pineapple with St. Germain in mixing tin. Add everything except soda, shake and strain into ice filled glass, top with Prosecco soda, garnish with a slice of pineapple and lime.
Next, they offered the Bikini Martini, which certainly lives up to both halves of its name. The drink is a mix of coconut shochu, vanilla vodka, and pineapple juice, with a dash of blue Curacao. This one had the tropical flavors you'd expect from a drink with "bikini" in its title, but also the definitive kick of alcohol I look for when the word "martini" is included. Still a beautiful presentation, thanks to the Curacao, that makes you think of beaches instead of smoky jazz clubs. And it certainly accompanies the Gojira Roll (with its spicy Sriracha sauce) quite nicely.
- Bikini Martini
.75 oz. Kai Young Coconut Shochu
.75 oz. vanilla vodka
1.5 oz. pineapple juice
.5 oz. simple syrup
.25 oz. blue Curacao
Splash of lemon-lime soda
Pineapple wedge for garnish
- Preparation: Pour all ingredients into mixing tin with ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and dash of blue Curacao.
So don't be afraid to switch into spring gear so early. Enjoy yourself an iced latte, a spring seasonal beer, or a few fine cocktails from RA (available through the end of April). Sure it may be in the 30's again next week... who knows? But it's always nice to think ahead... or is it "drink ahead"? What do you think? That a good line?
Who cares. Just drink well...