At the LuckyRice Night Market this past Saturday, I found myself triple-fisting. I kept collecting cocktails from the likes of bartenders Rosie Ruiz at Big Bar and Jayme Mandeville from Drago Centro, and couldn’t bring myself to abandon any of them. But, after that one night in New Orleans during Tales, I knew that just trying to finish them all was not the best course of action.
However, the one cocktail that I absolutely had to finish to the last drop at the special Culver City event was the Tom Kha-llins by Joseph Brooke of Mixology 101. A tropical mix of my favorite flavors — coconut and mango — it surprisingly wasn’t as thick or syrupy as you’d expect a cocktail with mango puree to be. In fact, nothing about it was predictable. Normally mango and pepper drinks tend to be overspicy, but here the Serrano pepper slices added just enough heat to get your attention.
Simplicity was key here, according to Joe. “I’ve had so many instances where gilding the lily has gotten me into trouble,” he said. “That’s one of the things that Salvatore [Calabrese at Mixology 101] taught me is simplicity.”
Inspired to make the Tom Kha-llins from his love of Tom Kha Gai, the spicy Thai coconut soup, Joe started playing around with coconut milk in his cocktails. “It doesn’t curdle like milk and I wanted to see if I could make something that wasn’t super heavy, thick and dense, sort of like in the style of an actual Tom Collins. Light and breezy.”
Unfortunately since Bombay Sapphire East — which is basically like the regular Bombay Sapphire but with more emphasis on lemongrass and peppercorns — isn’t widely available yet, you can’t get this cocktail from Joe at Mixology 101 tonight. But he’s planning to get a hold of the gin and then will add this tropical goodness to the menu. “This would be a great way to start playing with people’s notions of what a gin cocktail should be or taste like.”
For now, here’s the recipe for you to make at home. You can pick up a 1-liter bottle ($29.99) at Wine House in West LA starting this Friday. The 750ml bottles will be available by September/October.
By Joseph Brooke, Mixology 101
- 1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire East
- 0.5 oz Coconut puree
- 0.5 oz Mango puree
- 0.75 oz Lime juice
- 0.5 oz Cane syrup
- 2-3 leaves Thai basil
- 1-2 slices green Serrano pepper
Shake all and strain over ice in a Collins glass and then top with soda water. Garnish with lemongrass straw and basil leaf.