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Great Baltimore cocktails, The Spiced Nashi at Pabu Izakaya

Forget those Winter Olympians. Baltimore just welcomed home another kind of champion, one I can totally get behind: a winning cocktail.

Crowned the as the people's choice winner at Sunday's Ryes Up Against Cystic Fibrosis charitable gala, the Spiced Nashi is a spicy little number with a hint of springtime flavor that we all desperately need.

Created by Pabu Izakaya's head bartender Nick Jones, the Spiced Nashi battled it out with 17 other bars and restaurants to earn his prize (by the way, the grand cocktail champion of the night was The Canal Street, created by Fleet Street Kitchen's Tim Riley). The event, benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Maryland, was held at B&O American Brasserie by the Baltimore Bartenders' Guild. Stiff competition for a stiff drink.

So why award the Spiced Nashi one of the top honors? For its creativity and trendy ingredients. The Spiced Nashi (Japanese for pear) uses two popular concoctions in the cocktail community: shrub and dram. Shrub, popular during the Colonial era and again during Prohibition, is fruit syrup, preserved with vinegar and mixed with water or alcohol to make a tangy, refreshing beverage.

Jones said the overall idea for the Spiced Nashi came organically — literally — while he was making an Asian pear shrub. "Fresh Asian pear at our restaurant just makes sense. … I needed a good way to use a great ingredients and I think the Allspice Dram complements the spiciness of the pear. Rye is naturally spicy, so it all came together," he said. Allspice Dram, known in classic cocktails as Pimento Dram, brings together fine pot-still rum and classic allspice berries of Jamaica. It's a sweet, spicy, intense flavor that is often used in tiki drinks. Rounding out the flavor profile is a sweet and sour combination of simple syrup and lemon juice; egg whites add texture.

Although it was created for charity, Pabu will also carry the Spiced Nashi on their full cocktail menu through the spring.

How to Make The Spiced Nashi

1 1/2 oz. Bulleit Rye

1/2 oz. Asian pear shrub

1/4 oz. lemon juice

1/4 oz. house made All Spice Dram

1/4 oz. simple syrup

1/2 oz. egg white

Dry shake all ingredients in a metal shaker. Add ice and shake until cold, about 10 seconds. Double strain into a large coupe.

Garnish with a dehydrated Asian pear "chip" and fresh grated cinnamon.

Where to Get The Spiced Nashi

Pabu Izakaya

725 Aliceanna St., Harbor East

410-223-1460

pabuizakaya.com

$11

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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