Green drinking

Level III opening + a cucumber recipe

Friday night I attended the opening party for Level III in the JW Marriott, which, it turns out, was also the 7X7 Magazine Best of SF issue party.

It's hard to say what the place will look like when the party lights are off and the space returns to its normal hotel lobby look, but they did a terrific job of fixing it up for the event.

They served three drinks from the menu: The Shanghaied, Portman Cosmafornian, and Cable Car No. 2. They were all batch-made drinks for the big party, so they weren't a good indication of how the drinks might taste when made on the spot- we'll just have to see about that going forward.

The Portman Cosmafornian is basically a Cosmo with a sweet lime foam on top- without the foam the drink is nothing special but the sweet lime foam really works. The Cable Car No. 2 is full of tequila with a chili powder and cocoa rim. I really liked where it was headed, though I think I would swap chili powder with wasabi. (Mmm, wasabi.) I wasn't sold on the chocolate but I like chocolate less than the average person.

The Shangaied with Square One cucumber vodka, Canton ginger liqueur, and lemongrass syrup had great flavors (though it came out too sweet in the batching) and the lemongrass bits kind of get stuck to your lips, but it's worth it. This could be a great drink for summer. It contains just three ingredients, and if you batch the lemongrass syrup (or buy it from Monin), would make a great party drink.

And the Square One folks just gave me permission to print the recipe. At Level III we had this drink served on the rocks instead of in a cocktail glass as directed below.

Created by H. Joseph Ehrmann, Mixologist and Brand Ambassador for Square One

2 ounces Square One Cucumber Vodka
1/2 ounce Canton Ginger Liqueur
1 ounce lemongrass syrup*
3 - 4 inch piece of lemongrass stalk for garnish

Combine in a mixing glass with ice. Shake hard for 10 seconds and strain into a cocktail glass.

*Lemongrass Syrup: Trim the stalk at the bottom and just past the heart of the stalk (4-5 inches). Save top half for garnish. Cut the heart lengthwise down the middle and with a mallet pound the lemongrass to break it up. Boil lemongrass in one cup of water for 2-3 minutes then add one cup of sugar slowly, stirring constantly to dissolve. Bring to a boil then simmer for 3-5 minutes until syrupy. Remove from heat and cool completely. Pour through a strainer and into a storage bottle. Refrigerate.

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