The concept of a signature cocktail, mentioned a few times in à la Claude posts, is an easy way to avoid the immediate ‘What would you like to drink?’ question when guests arrive for an evening or an event. Signature cocktails are an opportunity for the host to express themselves, set the tone or support the theme of the soirée, and are incredibly efficient in suggesting a refreshing libation for indecisive guests.
I am always scanning restaurant cocktail menus for ideas and trends to incorporate into my rotation of signature cocktails. A few years ago, we were at a local foodie tapas hotspot, Segovia, and spied an interesting cocktail named Friend of a Friend. The name certainly did nothing for me – but the list of components sure piqued my interest. Jalapeño-lemongrass syrup with lime juice and coconut water topped with lemon-lime soda. I don’t remember the exact spirit incorporated in the cocktail – and it is no longer of the restaurant’s menu. I made the cocktail a few times last summer aiming to perfect the ratio of jalapeños and lemongrass and the steeping length of the spicy citrus syrup. My take on the cocktail uses canned coconut water with meat (reminds me of bubble tea with tapioca balls) in lieu of the clear version. This cocktail is sure to equally arouse the curiosity of those who enjoy a bit of spice as well as those looking for a refreshing Summer cocktail.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 medium sized jalapeños, halved, seeded and inner membrane removed
3 stalks lemongrass, cut into thirds and sliced crosswise
Combine sugar and water in saucepan and heat to dissolve sugar. Add jalapeños and lemongrass pieces. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove jalapeños and let lemongrass steep for an additional 15 minutes. Taste syrup and adjust steeping time with either component for a stronger flavoured syrup. Cool and strain.
2 oz jalapeño-lemongrass syrup
1 1/2 oz lime juice
1 1/2 oz spirit (vodka)
2 oz coconut water
splash lemon-lime soda
Half-fill an old fashioned glass with ice. Mix syrup, lime juice, spirit and coconut water in a ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake until well chilled. Pour over ice and top with a splash of lemon-lime soda. Serve with lime slide or wedge garnish.