Yuzu Blossom at 320 Main, Our Drink of the Week

320Drink revised.jpg
Tobin Sharp
This week's adventure found me at the popular Seal Beach watering hole, 320 Main, a place where the mixologists take the creation of cocktails very seriously.

Earlier this week, 320 Main hosted a gin drink contest, co-judged by our own editorial assistant Jessica Ford. After staggering home from the event safely, Ford said one drink in particular stood above the rest--the Yuzu Blossom. Her description of the concoction caught my attention and a blog post was born. 320 will feature this drink until January 30, so hop on it. Here's the chemical breakdown:

1 1/2 oz. Bols Genever, a unique liquor fermented from corn, like bourbon, but infused with juniper, a staple of gin.
3/4 oz. Cointreau
3/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
1 barspoon Yuzu Marmalade
garnish with a slice of orange peel

Though incredibly delicious, the flavor is tricky to describe. Few cocktails taste like this one, which makes finding a reference point difficult. Obviously, it's a very sweet drink. The citrus ingredients put this one in the family of a lemon drop martini, but the Cointreau adds a new dimension which keeps it from entering the realm of simple, candy-flavored cocktails prevalent at trendy night spots. 

The result is a unique balance of sweetness and tartness minus the harsh bite of alcohol.

If there is one criticism, it's that the complexity of flavors masks the taste of the juniper in the Bols Genever. People not fond of gin might actually appreciate this, and many mixologists feel if a drink is prepared correctly, the alcohol won't overwhelm the palate.

However, the unique flavor of the herbally infused gin for me is a welcome break from some of the other liquors I gravitate toward. Don't miss this one, but go easy: the $10 price tag will hit the wallet hard; the booze, carefully disguised by the drink's sweetness will hit your brain fairly hard as well. Enjoy.

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11 comments
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Jason
Jason

Brandon- thanks for coming in to try the Yuzu Blossom. Joey from The Cannery in Newport Beach deserves the props for winning the contest with this drink. All the bartenders did an amazing job incorporating their secret ingredients, showcasing Bols Genever and creating balanced cocktails.

Bols Genever is really awesome to work with. It has such a rich history and was the staple ingredient of many classic cocktail recipes. For a twist, try it in a Last Word or a Negroni.

Jason - 320 Main

guest
guest

To begin with, Bols Genever is an older style of "gin", made from rye and not from corn as this article suggests.Secondly, due to this difference in style, the Genever plays much differently in cocktails than a different gin, say London dry style, would. To expect a sharp "ginny" (read juniper forward) bite from this cocktail is to not understand the spirit at all. Third, the lemon drop family? unreal. At best the lemon drop would be an example of a Sour. At worst it should be left to the 21 year olds at Sharkies on Thursday nights. In addition, complexity in a cocktail is a good thing. Not a masking agent. If what you are looking for is Beefeater on the rocks, then this is not the drink for you; however, if you are someone who from time to time can set aside your need to be cross eyed, and enjoy sophisticated flavors and careful preparations, then this is certainly an interesting drink.After sampling this cocktail, I would say that it is fairly well balanced, though I would probably prefer about 1/3rd of the Simple syrup, especially if it is the 2:1 stuff that Jason Schiffer has in the bar over at 320. That being said, the yuzu marmalde is an interesting ingredient (one that is available at wholefoods) and its pithy tartness plays nicely with the malty depth of the Genever. Congratulations to Joey from the cannery for this winning cocktail, but it would be really nice if you would have done a little more research before you posted this blog.

Sorely Frickey
Sorely Frickey

What an ugly presentation but not unexpected since most bartenders don't distinguish between pith and zest. By the way, like most people I have plenty of Bols Genever and Yuzu Marmalade in the house but no lemon juice. Can I substitute plain old blue Curaçao?

denimesasx
denimesasx

Good atmosphere, but very little when it is busy. Great wait staff, friendly and helpful.

Jason
Jason

While we appreciate our guests passion for classic cocktails and spirit history, we do not find the "spirit" of the above comment to be a positive contribution to the discussion.

Brandon is right, when creating a recipe, a bartender will aim to create a balance between ingredients. Also, his reference to the Lemon Drop is not off-base, like the yuzu cocktail it fits into the sour category of drinks.

Now that there is a movement to appreciate spirits and cocktails akin to the wine, beer and culinary trends of the last several years, it is important to remember that only positive discussion will further the movement.

Jason - 320 Main

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

I have noticed the same problem there in the Sazerac; they need to zest citrus with a potato peeler, not with a knife.

Jason
Jason

Hey Dave! We missed you at the competition- just so you know, you have an open invite to judge at the next one.

The picture above is from the actual competition, the drink that was made by the competitor. I believe he used a channel knife to create the twist. Using a potato peeler is a good tip, that's what we use for all our citrus peels and make every effort to not leave too much pith on.

Jason - 320 Main

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