The signature drink at Roy Choi’s restaurant Commissary, in Los Angeles, this complex yet refreshing cocktail is the invention of Matthew Biancaniello, a bartending star known for his “culinary cocktails” that rely on local seasonal produce and unexpected ingredients. Here, Biancaniello uses muddled shiso leaves, cucumber, ginger juice and agave nectar in conjunction with several spirits to improve upon a Pimm’s Cup, a traditional British refresher. To take the drink even further, Biancaniello sometimes infuses the gin and liqueurs with seasonal fruit. Rhubarb is an especially good choice when it’s in season.
- 2 shiso leaves
- 2 thin cucumber slices
- 1 oz. (30 ml) fresh lime juice
- 1/4 oz. (7 ml) agave nectar
- 1/4 oz. (7 ml) ginger juice
- 3/4 oz. (20 ml) gin
- 1/2 oz. (15 ml) sweet vermouth
- 1/2 oz. (15 ml) Grand Marnier
- 1/4 oz. (7 ml) Cherry Heering
- 2 dashes Campari
Add 1 of the shiso leaves and the cucumber slices to a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or a wooden spoon, muddle the shiso and cucumber until they are lightly crushed and aromatic. Fill the shaker with ice and add the lime juice, agave nectar, ginger juice, gin, vermouth, Grand Marnier, Cherry Heering and Campari. Shake until well chilled. Strain into an ice-filled double old-fashioned glass or small tumbler, garnish with the remaining shiso leaf, and serve immediately. Makes 1 drink.
Recipe courtesy of Roy Choi, chef, restaurateur and author of L.A. Son