April 17 2013
This is what was served as the aperitif at the last Burnt Food evening. It's cool, refreshing and offers sweet, sour and bitter characters all at the same time.
In case you were wondering what yuzushu is.... let me try to explain by asking if you know of umeshu? No? Urm, how about "Japanese Plum Wine"...? Yep? Good.
Well, actually no, because ume is actually more of an apricot than a plum (Japanese Plum Wine is a really common mistranslation that I'm battling valiantly to correct!) so strictly speaking it should be known as Japanese Apricot Wine, or even better Japanese Ume Liqueur... In any case, it's a maceration of the ume fruit in a base alcohol (something around 35 degrees) with a lot of added sugar, for a duration of anywhere between six months and a year (or more.) It yields a pleasing sweet liqueur that can be served as an aperitif (straight, or often diluted, as here) or as a digestif (on ice or even diluted with hot water in the winter months.) The macerated ume fruits can also be eaten - they're supposed to keep you looking young and beautiful (more than one Japanese person has told me that!) but careful, they do rather pack a punch!
Anyway, yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit, somewhere between a lemon and a tangerine. The higher acidity levels in the fruit mean that the final liqueur is less sweet and therefore, for me, more drinkable. When the sun is out, I like it diluted with a little soda water.
To finish off the cocktail, I added a couple of drops of naughty, peppery Burlesque Bitters. In case you haven't realised, I like base notes in my cocktails even more than I do in my food. Frivolous just won't do. I need gutteral. The Burlesque Bitters step up to the mark perfectly.