Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cocktails for Kids

Crop Rocks' Steve Schimoler, chef and owner, and beverage manager Ryan Wilkins 

Guzzle for a good cause this Friday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. when the Gala speakeasy fundraiser takes over Steve Schimoler's new On Air Studio (part of the new trio of Crop venues in the Flats that also includes Crop Sticks and Crop Rocks).

Benefiting Cleveland Clinic Children's, the event features hors d'oeuvres by Crop Rocks, craft cocktails by representatives of the United States Bartenders Guild and live music by Brazilian jazz quartet Moises Borges and the David Thomas Jazz Trio.

Crop Rocks beverage manager Ryan Wilkins shares his Silk Road cocktail recipe, which he will serve on Friday to complement the Asian-influenced cuisine.

"We're trying to incorporate some Asian flavors and ingredients not only because they fit [Crop Sticks ] thematically, but because they go well with the food," says Wilkins. The drink features vodka, yuzu (a mild Asian citrus fruit) and fresh shiso.

If you're unfamiliar with the herb, you're not alone. "It's not a direct parallel to a more common herb in Western cooking," Wilkins explains. "It has a very vibrant, slightly spicy flavor with a little undertone of bitter. [It's like] a cross between cilantro and arugula."

Though shiso makes an appearance in a few other Crop Sticks cocktails, "This time I wanted to work with the shiso flavor but in a cocktail that would be very smooth and balanced without aggressive acidity," he says.

Order up on Friday or try your hand at mixology with the following recipe:

Silk Road

2 ounces Chopin Potato Vodka
3/4 ounce oleo-saccharum syrup (see recipe below)
1/4 ounce yuzu juice
small handful shiso leaves
small pinch salt

Dry-shake shiso leaves to bruise, then add other ingredients. Shake well and double-strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with microshiso leaf.

Oleo-saccharum syrup

Peels from two grapefruits and four limes (remove bitter white pith with a sharp paring knife or peeler)
3 cups sugar
3 cups water

Combine sugar and citrus peels in an airtight container and allow to macerate overnight. Remove citrus peels (straining sugar through sieve if necessary) and add sugar to medium saucepan. Stir in water, then simmer until sugar is dissolved. Cool. 

Tickets to the Gala are $40 presale or $50 on the day of the event.

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