Ever since visiting London Cocktail Week and exploring gin distilleries around Great Britain, I’ve been on a bit of a gin cocktail kick. And out of all the gin cocktails I’ve researched (*cough* tasted *cough*), this one was the most surprising. Here’s the story: I had just spent the day exploring Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, and visiting a gin bar with cocktails from around the world. Since I was tuckered out from a long day, I walked over to a restaurant close to my hotel — The Belfast Bar & Grill. Their menu was full of gourmet comfort foods made with locally sourced goods — delicious things like steak, truffle fries, and seafood chowder. I placed my order and asked for a tall glass of water. The server cocked her head to the side and gave me a strange look. “Surely you want to look at our cocktail menu? Or perhaps order one of our local brews?” she asked. Oh, Ireland. Of course I’ll replace my water with a cocktail. They had such a tempting variety of creative cocktails on their that I had to order one, and this Chili and Lychee Collins caught my eye. For one, I wasn’t expecting an Asian Fusion cocktail in Ireland. Also, my mother-in-law grows lychee in Florida, so I had to taste it and see if it was something I could recreate at home — and I did.
Fresh lychee isn’t in season this time of year, so I went with canned lychee, plus t takes the hassle out of pitting them. I do admit, they kind of look funky. But they taste so sweet! You can use the juice from the canned lychee, or use bottled lychee juice. Both can be found at an Asian supermarket or in the international foods section of your local grocer.
Here’s the recipe!
Chili and Lychee Collins
2 oz gin
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 – 2 oz lychee juice
splash of soda water (more if you’re using a highball glass)
chili powder to garnish rim
lychee and mint to garnish
Fill a shallow plate with water, and a second shallow plate with chili powder. Dip the rim of the glass in the water, then in the chili powder to garnish the rim. Fill the glass with crushed ice, then mix the gin, lemon juice, lychee juice, and soda water and pour over the ice. Serve with lychee and mint as garnish. Enjoy!
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