The Taste of Vietnam in a Cocktail Glass
Cocktails that invoke the flavors of Vietnam are certainly interesting considering that when you think of Vietnamese flavors you think of pomelo juice, lemongrass and fish sauce. Can you make a cocktail with these ingredients? The answer is yes!
If you don’t fancy combining these flavors in your cocktail glass, don’t worry cucumber, citrus and ginger are other Vietnamese flavors that can be combined to make cocktails as well.
So whether you have an Eastern palate or a Western palate let our journey into Vietnam through a cocktail glass commence......
For something very exotic and definitely different is the cocktail called the Vietnamese Delight –
30ml pomelo juice
15 ml amaretto
Pour the vodka, cointreau, pomelo juice and amaretto into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well until all of the liquids are chilled. Rim a cocktail glass with lime and then dip in cinnamon. Strain the liquid into the cocktail glass and float half a teaspoon of fish sauce on the top of the cocktail.
Ginger and lime are two other flavors associated with Vietnam and they are combined really well in the cocktail named the Ginger Kaffir Limeade. To make this cocktail you first need to prepare some ginger syrup –
To make one cup of ginger syrup you’ll need –
1 1/2 cups of water
1 cup organic sugar
1 cup peeled, thinly-sliced ginger
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
Combine the sugar, water and sliced ginger in a pan over a medium heat. Heat until the mixture has reduced to 1 cup or it resembles a thick maple-syrup consistency. Add grated ginger to the syrup and store in an airtight container. Refrigerate until used.
Now back to the cocktail….
Ginger Kaffir Limeade
1 ½ limes
¾ oz ginger syrup (see above recipe)
2 oz kaffir lime vodka
Rub the a piece of lime along the lip of a tumbler and dip the rim into the sugar. Juice the limes before filling the tumbler with ice. Add the lime juice, ginger syrup, cointreau and vodka into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain the drink into the glass and garnish with a lime wedge to serve.
During a mixologist contest to use the Vietnamese flavors of lemongrass, pomelo juice and fish sauce another interesting cocktail was invented called The Invisible Fish. The name of this cocktail comes from the fact that you don’t really taste the fish sauce, even though it’s there.
The Invisible Fish
5 slices of lemongrass
5 ml egg white
25 ml pomelo juice
50 ml lime juice
40 ml rum
10 ml sugar syrup
In the bottom of a cocktail shaker you need to muddle the lemongrass and then add the egg white, pomello juice, lime juice and rum together. Keep muddling and then add the sugar syrup and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and add a drop of fish sauce on the top.
This cocktail uses the fish sauce, but you don’t really taste it instead you get the flavors of pomelo and lemongrass coming through. This is like Vietnamese cuisine, however, the fish sauce is added to make the dish pop not to over power it and in this cocktail it has the same effect.
There are a few different versions of the cucumber martini, but this one really feels Vietnamese in flavor.
30 ml pearl sake
15 ml gin
½ cup sugar water
½ cup cucumber water
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well before straining into a cocktail glass to serve.
Note – not sure how to make cucumber water? Grate a cucumber over a wire strainer, add a teaspoon of salt and let the juice drain through.
Vietnamese Non-Alcoholic Cocktails
If you want to embrace Vietnamese flavors in your glass, but you don’t want any alcohol then not to worry I’ve got a non-alcoholic recipesfor you to try.
1/2 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
1/2 small ripe papaya, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 cups ice
1 tablespoon sugar
Put all of the ingredients except the sugar into a blender and pulse until the drink is nice and smooth. Stir in the sugar to taste.
Sweetened condensed milk is often used in Vietnam, Vietnamese coffee is even served with it, combined with tropical fruits this is a very refreshing (and sweet) Vietnamese drink.
Want More Asian Inspired Cocktails?
There are a number of other Asian inspired cocktails available and you can check some of them out at –
- Asian Inspired Cocktails
Twenty years ago we were all intrigued with Italian cooking, before that French, but in this millennium we seem to be entranced with Asian flavors more than ever. Our kitchens contain the likes of lemongrass, lime juice, cardamom, coconut milk, yogur
Kymberly Fergusson from Germany on November 09, 2012:
Fruity and spicy! Although I'm not convinced of using fish sauce or eggs in a cocktail, the other spice and fruit combinations sound delicious!
txngalMT from Deep in the Heart of Texas on May 29, 2011:
Fish sauce in an alcohol drink? Funny how Vietnamese use fish sauce in everything!
lou16 (author) on September 25, 2010:
Thank you, it's nice to have cocktails that are a little different sometimes :)
TheOneWhoKnows from Croatia on September 25, 2010:
Very cool and egzotic :-)