I first had this tasty cocktail down at the Root Squared Bar in New Orleans last summer at an event organized by the fine folks of Baijiu America. There are a couple of things that I love about this one. First it uses strong-aroma baijiu as its base,* and I’m always impressed when a bartender can pull that off, but what really sets this aside is the innovative use of Sichuan peppercorns in the Demerara syrup.
Like many great wines, baijiu is intended to be compliment food and, more specifically, the cuisine of the region that distilled. So to drink a Sichuanese baijiu (strong aromas generally hail from the province) in a cocktail made with the most distinctive ingredient in Sichuanese cooking is at once obvious and ingenious.
Happy Goat Year, xin nian kuai le and the rest of it.
Ming the Merciless
Created by Max Messier at Root Squared, New Orleans
-1½ oz. Strong-aroma baijiu (Max used Mianzhu Daqu by Jiannanchun)
-½ oz. Sichuan Peppercorn Demerara syrup (see recipe below)
-¾ oz. lime juice
-Fresh lime slices
Pour all liquid ingredients into an iced cocktail shaker. Shake well and top with soda water in a Collins glass. Add fresh lime slices for garnish.
Sichuan Peppercorn Demerara
-1 cup water
-2 cups Demerara (raw) sugar
-¼ cup of Sichuan Peppercorns, smoked in a pan for 2-3 min. on high heat
Add sugar and water to pot. Bring to boil and add Sichuan peppercorns. Return to boil and turn off heat. Cover and steep for 30 mins. Strain, bottle and refrigerate for 4 weeks.