Great Baltimore cocktails, The Coco Kanpai at RA Sushi

A little coconut goes a long way.
A little coconut goes a long way. (Christina Camba)

It's hard to decide what to wear, eat, drink, and frankly, sometimes, who to be when you don't want summer to end.

But the weather gets all emotional and pushes you into fall without much warning. One minute, you want to cling to breezy and refreshing, the next you long for warm and savory. As far as cocktails go, the easiest solution is to order a drink with an ingredient that seems to effortlessly embrace both: ginger beer. Light and yet spicy, it's the perfect balance to just about any liquor; a little tropical and also a little earthy. This month, RA Sushi in Harbor East is helping to painlessly ease us through this seasonal transition with their Coco Kanpai, a blend of pineapple, coconut, and ginger flavors.


Through the end of September, RA is offering the Kanpai, featuring Kai Coconut Pandan vodka, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, fresh juices, muddled mint and ginger beer. Asian cultures often pair ginger to add depth to the flavor of other ingredients. Here, the ginger beer, coupled with the Pandan, an Asian vodka made entirely of rice and fresh coconut juice, and fresh pineapple, lime, and cream of coconut juice produces a unique, almost-sweetened Dark and Stormy. Or maybe we should call it an Island Stormy? Nah — Coco Kanpai sounds better, especially because, as RA's beverage director Alex Summer (how appropriate) notes, "Kanpai is basically 'Cheers' in Japanese. Well, a closer, more literal translation is 'bottoms up' or 'empty cup.'"

Kanpai for the Coco Kanpai, then — a nice summer send off and a welcome autumnal treat, all in one flavorful drink.


How to Make the Coco Kanpai

6 mint leaves

1 3/4 oz. Kai Coconut Pandan vodka

1/4 oz. St. Germain

3/4 oz. lime juice

1/2 oz. pineapple juice

1/2 oz. Cream of Coconut "Coco Real"

Splash of ginger beer

Muddle mint and lime juice in mixing glass, add all ingredients, shake and transfer to tall, 12 oz. ice-filled glass. Top with ice and splash of ginger beer. Garnish with fresh lime and mint sprig. Please note: The Cream of Coconut "Coco Real" can be purchased in smaller quantities at most liquor/grocery stores.

Where to Get the Coco Kanpai

RA Sushi Bar Restaurant

1390 Lancaster St., Harbor East




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