Lychee Cocktails Poolside: The Liquid Muse and Kai Vodka at Viceroy

— by Caroline on Crack

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Since I’ve become a big bourbon drinker and in turn a huge cocktail snob, I’m not so much the fan of flavored vodkas anymore except for the rare vanilla vodka with gingerale. But leave it to Natalie Bovis-Nelsen aka The Liquid Muse to open up my eyes.

Natalie runs the site The Liquid Muse but also does cocktail consulting and cocktail catering (she designed the Pinky Vodka and Rosangel cocktails featured at Blogger Prom this Wednesday!). And Kai Vodka had asked Natalie to mix them up some cocktails to showcase their rice-based vodka and lychee vodka. She’s big on cocktails using fresh juices and quality spirits so I’d say they picked the right person.

This was all done poolside at the Viceroy in Santa Monica during the hotel’s Taste of Tuesday outdoor happy hour. For the month of July Kai Vodka is the sponsored spirit so guests could enjoy Kai cocktails for only $5.

Now, I thought for sure that the lychee vodka would be uber sweet, syrupy even, but it was actually quite tasty and I could even venture to drink it neat. Or mix that baby up with some gingerale over ice and create a tasty summertime treat. I even liked the regular vodka which was smooth, not harsh like I usually find vodkas to be.

In any case,

Natalie was kind enough to share her recipes so you can make your own Kai cocktails at home for your barbecues and pool parties. BTW, Natalie is big on using a jigger to measure rather than pouring by feel or count so these amounts are precise.

Kai Julep (julep cup or highball glass)_
Created by Natalie Bovis-Nelsen, TheLiquidMuse.com_

  • 1 1/2 ounces Kai lychee vodka
  • 1 heaping teaspoon white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ounce coconut water
  • 3 mint leaves
  • 1/2 ounce club soda
  • 1 whole lychee (garnish)
  • 1 mint sprig (garnish)

Muddle mint leaves and sugar in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add lime juice, Kai lychee vodka, coconut water, then shake vigorously, with ice. Strain into julep cup or highball glass filled with crushed ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a lychee on a cocktail skewer.

Tropical Tipple  (martini glass)
Created by Natalie Bovis-Nelsen,

  • 2 ounces Kai vodka
  • 1 ounce passion syrup
  • 1 ounce mango juice
  • 3/4 ounce lemon
  • Fresh mango slice, sprinkled with cracked black pepper on a cocktail skewer (garnish)

Shake all liquid ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with fresh mango slice.

The Sophisti-kai-ted Lady  (champagne flute)
created by Natalie Bovis-Nelsen,

  • 1 ounce Kai Lychee vodka
  • 1/2 ounce elderflower liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 dash peach bitters
  • 3 ounces sparkling wine (Prosecco is particularly good with this one…)
  • 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon peel twirl

Pour sugar onto a small plate. Rub the rim of a champagne flute with lemon, then dip it in the sugar to coat the rim. Set aside. Shake Kai Lychee vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and peach bitters with ice. Gently strain into the sugar rimmed champagne flute. Slowly, top with the sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon peel twirl across the rim of the glass.

My favorite cocktail had to be the Tropical Tipple because I LOVE all things mango and this cocktail was simply delicious and dangerous as it was too easy to guzzle. And what I especially liked about it is that it relies on fresh juices for its sweetness rather than liqueurs, which leave me feeling ill because they’re too sugary. And with just four ingredients, this is something I can easily whip up at my own parties.

The Kai Julep was an interesting take on the traditional julep which is bourbon-based. “Lychee vodka in the place of bourbon?” I asked Natalie. “I thought it would be fun to try Kai lychee vodka in place of the usual brown spirit,” she said. “I encourage people at home or in bars to swap out spirits in some of their favorite drink recipes.” Hmm, I’ve done that! Like that tequila-based Manhattan at Westside Tavern. Mmm.

The Sophisti-Kai-ted Lady was very light and I can imagine sipping these during Sunday brunch, again poolside. What is up with the pool and Kai? I guess because it just tastes so summery.

So if you’d like to check out Kai Vodka and Natalie’s cocktail stylings, she’s mixing up some cocktails again at the Viceroy tonight! Just sign up to be a member of her Liquid Muse Cocktail Club, a social network of cocktail fans who meet up at her hosted cocktail events, and you’re in. But hurry as there are only a limited amount of spots left.

If you miss Kai at the Viceroy this month, you can also find it in Beechwood‘s lychee cocktail and the Apocyourlipsnow cocktail at Nic’s Martini Lounge.

More pics from the Liquid Muse and Kai event.