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Do 10 rounds with the best barman Anthony Valencia

Thanks to the House of Suntory for its partnership with Half Full and for sponsoring this special edition of 10 Rounds

What inspired you to create this cocktail? “The cooking show Chopped with mysterious ingredients and the thought of how nice it would be to be on an island right now. I love the spontaneity of cocktails where you pop them out of nowhere: extra almond extract from some cookies made by a friend, mashed passion fruit that I use in smoothies, taco limes, sugar, soda and Roku Gin. Love.”

When would you be drinking this? “Right after the housework: I walked the dog, I received the mail, did emails, finished the laundry, cleaned the apartment, prepared lunch, ate it, cleaned it… That’s nice to enjoy while you watch a little blue sky before you head straight back.

What music would you associate it with? Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love Something”. It’s cool and funky, and for me no matter where I am or what I think, it always makes me smile and groove. Ideal for an afternoon drink.

What food would you associate it with? “I would pair it with tacos, definitely tacos. Lime, spices and cilantro complete the passion fruit, almond and gin. The soda keeps everything from getting too heavy.

Name the person (dead or alive) for whom you want to prepare this cocktail. “The first person that comes to mind is Charlie Chaplin. This cocktail is fun, it’s a party, a bit like it was with comedy. I think with the Tom Tom Club, the tacos and this drink, we would have a great time. The whole memory would be hilarious.

What advice would you give to someone who makes this drink? “Have fun with that. Everyone’s palate is different too, so play around with the recipe. For example, add an extra drop of almond extract or a little less soda to make the flavors more intense.

Why do you think Roku® Gin works so well in this recipe? “Roku Gin works perfectly in this cocktail because the herbs play so well with the flavors of almond, passion fruit and citrus. It has a nice flavor that overlaps with the other ingredients.

How do you explain the recent rise in popularity of Japanese spirits in America? “I think the growing popularity of Japanese spirits is due to several factors, availability, exposure and bartenders. In my bar some people are always looking to try new things, exotic and distant spirits, companies they might not be familiar with and I can add some really well made Japanese spirits.

Which book on cocktails or spirits is your favorite resource? The gentleman’s companion. This is a 1939 book, written by Charles H. Baker, Jr. The recipes are as entertaining as Baker’s witty social commentary. He has sailed and flown around the world interviewing dignitaries and politicians, recording their recipes as he ate and drank with them.

What is your favorite piece of barware? “My favorite piece of barware would have to be my rose gold Japanese shaker boxes. I only break them for special guests and even more special occasions. They just look so fresh and shaking the cocktails in them is heavenly.

By Anthony Valencia

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 parts of Roku® Gin (to order on Drizly)
  • 1.5 parts lime juice and passion fruit (equal parts)
  • 1.5 parts simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
  • 4 drops of almond extract
  • Club Soda
  • Glass: Collins or cups
  • Garnish: lime wheel

DIRECTIONS

This recipe makes two servings. Add all the ingredients, except the club soda, to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into two Collins glasses (or mugs) each filled with fresh ice. Garnish both with club soda, stir and garnish with lime slices.

The interview has been condensed and edited.

Gin Roku®, 43% Alc./Vol. © 2020 Beam Suntory Import Co., Chicago, IL. Drink responsibly.

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