Oriental Gem or Just Oriental?
Day 62, Cocktails 57 & 58
While this is day 62 of my adventure, these two cocktails are from earlier this week. Several months ago I purchased a bottle of Ty Ku liqueur at my local Otto’s Wine and Spirits. Otto’s is definately my go to place for liquor, liqueurs, beer and wine. The selection is large, the staff knowledgeable and the prices good. If you are in the Milwaukee area and enjoy a drink now and then, check them out!
So, back to the Ty Ku. It was on sale, looked interesting, and based on nothing more than that, I bought it. When I got home I opened it up, poured a small sample and took a sniff. Hmmm, my initial reaction was not pleasant. I took and sip and was not thrilled. The closest thing I could liken it to was a distilled spirit that I had in China that smelled like sweat socks left in a gym locker and tasted worse. While this was not that bad, it did seem to have the same origin.
I let it sit for a couple of months, during which time my liqueur cabinet has started to overflow. Being the kind of person that cannot throw liquor away (no matter how unattractive it is) I endeavored to find a use for it. My quest started at the Ty Ku website. They are pretty non specific about the geography of its origin, but do give some information on what does make up Ty Ku. The flavoring components are yuzu, a fruit that is somewhat of a cross between a lemon and a lime, honeydew melon (a flavor that I can detect in it), mangosteen (I have no idea what this tastes like as it is not generally available in North America), ginseng, green tea, and goji berry. I won’t even begin to get into the veiled “health” benefits that Ty Ku seems to think it possesses. My interest is in what I can do with this 40 proof liqueur.
My first Ty Ku cocktail is from their website and is a bit of a twist on a margarita:
- 1-1/2 oz Ty Ku
- 1/4 oz tequila (I used Cazadores)
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- soda water
Combine the Ty Ku, tequila and lemon juice in a shaker glass with 3-4 ice cubes. Stir well to mix and chill. Pour into a rocks glass filled with cracked ice. Top with soda water and garnish with lime slice.
This cocktail, I have to admit, was light and effervescent. A hint of th melon flavor in the Ty Ku came through, which was very nice. On their web site Ty Ku claims this is a 96 calorie cocktail, so Gwen appreciated that aspect of it as well.
My second effort with Ty Ku was last night. The flavor profile (which by now has grown on me) seemed like it would work well with cucumber. Did somebody say cucumber? Hendrick’s gin immediately came to mind as a base spirit. Then I borrowed a page from Chad Doll’s playbook and used my citrus juicer on an unsuspecting cucumber to get its juice. After several trials, I settled on this little number:
Melon Cukey Baby
- 2-1/2 oz Henrick’s gin
- 3/4 oz Ty Ku
- 1/8 oz cucumber juice
- 1/8 oz bar syrup
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with 4-5 cubes of ice. Shake, shake, shake to mix and thoroughly chill. Pour into a chilled, 6 oz cocktail glass. Garnish with a floating cucumber slice.
As I was working this I dialed back on the cucumber juice and increased the gin and Ty Ku to get the balance right. In the end I thought this was a tasty, summer cocktail with just enough sweetness to refresh but still allow the interplay between the melon flavor in the Ty Ku and the cucumber tones of the Hendrick’s. Try it out and let me know what you think — and if you have a better idea for a name, please let me know! I’ll mix you one if have the winning suggestion!