Spicy, sweet, crunchy . . . and different.
I was lamenting to my girlfriend while on a date at some small sushi bar I don’t remember the name or location of about how I was running out of ideas for the food portion of my blog. I had done all the drinks I had concocted over the years, but the well had run dry. I had experimented with food, both expensive and cheap, until my budget no longer allowed me the comfort to do so. There was always the option of blogging about diet and exercise, but that would take something like 30 weeks to finish (it actually took 35), and I was too lazy at the time to consider starting that.
My girlfriend sighed, held up the Japanese beer we had split, and said to just do something with Japanese beer and sake. A lightbulb went off in my brain, and I exalted that she was a genius. She told me she just wanted me to shut the fuck up, which is a feeling I cause in almost all my friends, family, and random passersby. It took me a long while to get the right mixture of ingredients, but I finally hit it on the nail.
The Spicy Cucumber
– Sake (one shot)
– Ginger Ale
– Green Tea (2 Bags)
– 1 Cup of Sugar
– 1 Cup of Water
– Wasabi Paste/Powder
A Word on Wasabi – It’s going to be a rare thing if you actually find real wasabi outside of Japan. The wasabi root is hard to grow and is very rare. It’s expensive even in Japan, and that’s where it grows. If you’re a culinary snob who argues that sake must be served chilled, or hot, or tepid, or served out of the ass of a howler monkey (all of which are legit ways to consume sake, by the way, it all just depends on the season . . . the monkey option, for example, is a Spring affair) and demand that all of your ingredients be authentic, good luck. I’ll be getting plastered for the eighth time over here while you’re still looking.
- Boil a cup of water in a small pot. Place two bags of green tea (it doesn’t have to be the really good kind) in the water to seep as it comes to a boil.
- When water comes to a boil, remove from heat and in a cup of sugar, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. Let syrup completely cool, then store in an airtight bottle.
- Fill a tumbler with ice and pour in sake.
I have mentioned how I measure alcohol in a tumbler before in the Mint Tea Gin & Tonic: pour until the liquor just reaches the top of the bottom ice cube. I have since been told this is a drunk’s way of measuring liquor. Well . . . call a spade a spade I guess. Otherwise one shot should be fine.
- Pour in 1 – 2 tablespoons of Green Tea Syrup.
- Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale.
- Cut a slice of cucumber (I did mine with a fancy spiral cut). Spread wasabi thinly on the cucumber (I bought the powdered kind, so while making the paste I added some of the syrup to make it sweeter), and place it on the side of the glass.
Now you can drink the cocktail and eat the cucumber at the same time, letting the flavors mix together in your mouth. This will give you the sweetness of the drink and the full power of the wasabi. But after many trials, a hang over, and some more trials, I discovered that it’s much better to plop the cucumber slice into the cocktail before you drink it. The wasabi will mix gently with the liquid, making the drink spicier as you go through it. And after you’re finished with the drink, you get to eat the cucumber which is now spicy from the wasabi, sweet from the syrup, and still wonderfully crunchy. Serve this to your friends and they will be very surprised, and very refreshed.