Prague inspires my new Wabi-Wasabi tiki-style cocktail

Bartenders at Hemingway Bar in Prague serve a poppy seed
milk cocktail in a copper gnome and a wasabi-yuzu margarita
in a ceramic cup, seen here on Jan. 20, 2019.
Photo credit: Lauren J. Mapp
Exploring Prague in January was more than just checking out the beautiful architecture and art. For me, I was just as excited to taste the food and beverages the city had to offer.

Discovering food and drinks unlike what's readily available in San Diego is one of the primary reasons for my insatiable sense of wanderlust. Learning about culinary culture is the most important pastime that makes me who I am.

During our first night in the city, and after a Czech-Indian fusion dinner at V Zátiší, we sipped our way from one spot to the next. Our drinks contained curious ingredients like poppy seed milk and wasabi, and the interestingly unique collection of glassware filled my bartending heart with jealousy.

Our first stop was Hemingway Bar, where the friendly bartender guided us through the menu, served a killer series of cocktails and suggested a couple of places that we needed to visit.

Before leaving, we tried a wasabi and yuzu margarita; a blue gin and tonic made with Gin Mare and served in a seashell glass with a candy starfish resting on an ice cube; and a tasty poppy seed milk drink served in a copper, gnome-shaped vessel.

Our next stop was Hemingway's sister pub, Cash Only Bar. True to its name, they don't accept credit or debit cards, so you'll need to have a pocket full of Czech Crowns to order a drink. We tried the a pear brandy cocktail served in a lightbulb-shaped glass and garnished with a basil leaf.

 Interesting cocktail glasses, like this lightbulb-shaped one filled with a Pear Brandy drink at Cash Only Bar seen here on Jan. 20, 2019, are found all throughout Prague. Photo credit: Lauren J. Mapp

We concluded our impromptu cocktail crawl with a stop at the infamous Black Angel's Bar in Old Town Square.

Photographs are not allowed there, but the bar is nestled in the basement of a hotel. It pairs the old world feel of weathered stonework walls with the hip classiness of a dynamic cocktail menu.

My drink was served in a tiny treasure chest and came with a special coin with the bar's name on it.

I returned home to San Diego inspired by the margarita from Hemingway Bar and ready to create my own, rum-based version of this cocktail. But something was missing for me in the flavor of the original drink I was paying homage to.

I needed more wasabi as much as Blue Oyster Cult needed more cowbell. So, upon approval from my manager, I set out to make a tiki drink with an arguably questionable ingredient.

The name is a spin on the Japanese aesthetic principal of Wabi-sabi, emphasizing imperfection and transience in art. I hope this drink will inspire others to reach their goals, as imperfect as completion might be.

This cocktail has the perfect summer afternoon flavor profile, and it pairs well with seafood, especially sushi, poke and ceviche.
My Wabi-Wasabi tiki cocktail (shown here) is inspired by a
wasabi-yuzu cocktail at Hemingway Bar in Prague.
Photo credit: Lauren J. Mapp

Wabi-Wasabi
2    oz. Cutwater White Rum
1    oz. Wasabi-Yuzu Cordial
1    oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz. Orgeat

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail tin and add a scoop of ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds, then strain over fresh ice in a collins glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a sprig of mint.

Wasabi-Yuzu Cordial
13   oz. Granulated Sugar
1.5  oz. Wasabi Powder
3     oz. Yuzu Juice
10   oz. Hot Water

First, stir together sugar and wasabi powder until well combined. Next, stir in yuzu juice and hot water. Stir vigorously until all ingredients are combined. Let cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge until ready to use. Stir or shake the container before pouring into the shaker tin.

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