Spadina Splash

Excerpt from A Field Guide to Canadian Cocktails, by Scott McCallum & Victoria Walsh
Excerpted from Drinks: A User’s Guide by Adam McDowell. Copyright © 2016 Adam McDowell. Published by TarcherPerigee, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

This cocktail celebrates the vast array of flavours and ingredients found in Toronto’s Chinatown. A quick trip to Spadina Avenue and you can pick up a plethora of exotic ingredients with cocktail-friendly flavour profiles, both sweet and savoury.

1 1⁄2 oz gin

1 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

1 oz chilled Junmai Nigori sake,
       such as Ontario Spring Water Sake Company

3⁄4 oz Ginseng & Red Date Syrup

1⁄4 oz Campari

2 dashes Bar 40 Umami bitters (optional) 

Large handful of ice

Crushed ice

1 to 2 oz chilled club soda (optional)

1 red date, for garnish (optional)

1 triangular piece grapefruit wheel, for garnish (optional)

Pour all ingredients except ice, soda and garnishes into a cocktail shaker. Add ice cubes. Shake until chilled. Double strain through a Hawthorne strainer and a fine-mesh strainer into an ice-filled fizz or small collins glass. Top with a splash of soda. Garnish with a red date and grapefruit,  if you like. This cocktail is especially satisfying served with noodles. 

Makes 1 drink


Ginseng & Red Date Syrup

Dried red dates (also called jujubes) and fresh ginseng can be found in many Asian food stores. If unavailable, regular dried dates and dried ginseng may be substituted.

Rinse 1 cup dried red dates, pitted, and 3 pieces fresh ginseng, each 3 to 4 inches long. Cut ginseng into ¼-inch slices. Place 3 cups water, dates and ginseng in a saucepan. Set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let boil until liquid is flavourful and reduced by about two-thirds or to 1 cup but no less. This will take 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a measuring cup with a spout. Using the back of a spoon, lightly press solids to extract all liquid, noting the amount of liquid released. Pour liquid into rinsed saucepan. Add 1 to 1 ½ cups granulated sugar in an amount equal to liquid. Set saucepan over medium and heat mixture just until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Fine strain through a funnel lined with several layers of cheesecloth into a sterilized jar. Syrup will keep, sealed and refrigerated, for at least 2 weeks. Makes 12 oz (1 ½ cups), for 18 drinks.

Excerpted from A Field Guide to Canadian Cocktails by Victoria Walsh and Scott McCallum. Copyright © 2015 Scott McCallum and Victoria Walsh. Photography Copyright © Juan Luna. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.