November 15, 2010

Shake, baby, shake!

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Four days into my detox program, I got a call from the Resident Froggie to go drinking.  Whisky was the topic of the day, and curiously we started the evening at Bourbon.  It supposedly has some of the best barbecued meats in town, and looking at my neighbor's hunk of beef short ribs - which he repeated offered to let me taste but I declined - the claim probably wasn't an outrageous one.

Instead I settled for some deep-fried onion rings and a shot of single malt Scotch whose name I don't recall.  I asked for the whisky to be served on the rocks, having been told they have those perfectly round ice spheres.  Unfortunately the experience wasn't all that it was cracked up to be... no pun intended.  The minute the bartender poured the whisky over the ice sphere I heard a loud crack... The sudden temperature change was apparently too much for the ice to handle, and as the sphere melted it was clearly uneven and jagged.  Not what I expected at all.

I wanted to introduce Froggie to b.a.r. Executive, not only for the selection of whisky but also for the entertainment value.  Turned out to be a good choice...

We sat down at the bar in front of a range of delicious-looking Japanese fruits, and decided to start with a cocktail.  I asked for mine to be made with perssimmon, and Hidome-san proceeded to mix in some cranberry juice and Charleston Follies.  Very viscous as far as drinks go, but interesting.  Froggie had hers made from Gros Colman grapes which were hand-peeled by the lovely assistant.

While Froggie continued on her path for peaty whiskies, I asked for a double of Nikka Taketsuru 21 years (ニッカ竹鶴21年) on the rocks.  The nice, big chunk of ice was well-made and nicely carved, and melted very evenly in the glass.  The whisky was very Japanese in style - sweet, lots of vanilla in the nose, and not much peat.  A refreshing change from all the Islays I tend to drink...

There was a chunk of musk melon (マスクメロン) sitting in front of us, and I made the remark that it was staring at us like the eye of Sauron...and had to be disposed of.  So once again we asked for a cocktail - this time with Bacardi, Monin Miel, lime juice and Midori.  The ripe sweetness of the melon, plus the fragrance of Midori, made for a delicious drink.

Not yet satiated, we chose another victim to sacrifice itself for our pleasure.  This time it was one of a pair of giant Niigata pears (新潟梨) which were hiding behind the melon.  Already buzzing, I made an inappropriate comment about stuffing them into an oversized bra...before having one taken away and dealt with.  The lovely assistant patiently peeled it, then proceeded to work the flesh over a grater to extract the juice by hand.  The resulting nectar - shaken as usual in the Cobbler Shaker with Bacardi - was sweet and lovely.  The alcohol was hardly detectable.

I think Froggie was really impressed with the place.  The care and attention to detail taken by the Japanese assistant while working on the fruits was consistent with what we expect from an establishment like this.  Hidome-san's skills in ice-cube chopping with a cleaver - and of course his skills with the cocktail shakers - were fascinating to watch for a newcomer.  It's a shame that once again I didn't ask for persmission to do some filming...

I was feeling generous at the end of the evening, and treated Hidome-san and his assistant to one of Pierre Hermé's white truffle macarons.  I think they were pretty happy...

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