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Soju Squeeze - Dr. Bamboo - March 2009

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Soju Squeeze ImageI recently read somewhere that making cocktails was more akin to baking than cooking. This claim centered around the idea of precise measurement of ingredients being required for both. And it got me thinking...

If you are attempting to make a quality drink then you should make sure you've got decent ingredients, the right equipment, and are measuring your ingredients whenever possible. Execute your drink with precision and do your best to make it as good as can be, regardless of how elaborate or simple the recipe may be.

But for goodness sakes, don't forget that making drinks should fun.

Since I view making drinks as a type of cooking (but don't get me started on the whole "bar chef" concept), I think there are often times when the process of drink creation requires the reckless abandon mentioned above. Not in the sense of haphazardly hurling liquor all over your surroundings (although that can be fun under the right circumstances), but rather, avoiding becoming stiff and locked into a regimented way of doing things behind the bar.

I'm not suggesting that anyone abandon their cherished and hard-won techniques. Far from it. I'm just saying that whatever skills and talents you've acquired should be put in the service of making drinks in a spirited way. Approach your task with a conscientious attitude and right-mindedness, but never be afraid to try something new. Be adventurous, and try not to overthink everything.

Case in point: While browsing the shelves of my local liquor store, I ran across a bottle of soju. I'd never tasted soju before, and all I knew of it was a vague remembrance of someone once calling it "Korean vodka". Normally I would go home, research it as much as I could, and then decide whether to buy some. But in the spirit of adventure, I wanted to simply let this item which I knew nothing about be a fresh experience, uncolored by preconceptions and other people's opinions.

Turns out I love it, and had a blast experimenting with it in cocktails. I later went and did all the research I was tempted to do beforehand, but I'm glad I waited. I encourage you to do the same. Take a chance on something you know nothing about- You might end up having a great time.

Here's a recipe I think showcases soju well. It's light, citrusy, and not too strong...a good option for people who like something crisp but without too much bite.

Soju Squeeze

 

  • 2 oz. Soju
  • 1 oz. Lillet blanc
  • 1 oz. Fresh-squeezed blood orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Float two or three almond slivers on surface of drink.

~ A Dr. Bamboo original creation

 
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