I am officially declaring sake cocktails gluten-free comfort food. Just saying…
Portland is full of so many cool and awesome businesses, and one that I particularly love is Momokawa/Sake One, which is a small sake brewing company out in Forest Grove. It’s such a cool little spot, very close to a lot of wineries, where you can go and do sake tastings. Jay and I discovered it one day, as we were out driving around looking for a U-pick berry farm (I know, shocking right?). But what a fun place to discover.
We were already big sake fans before discovering this jem, but how cool to discover locally made sakes. Momokawa not only brews their own, but they also bring in different unique sakes from Japan, and have cool sake events every other month. So, needless to say, we have a nice little collection of their various sakes.
So one night Jay was playing around with one of the sakes, and decided to recreate a drink he had had years ago. There was a sushi bar that he used to frequent in Pasadena. The chef was known for a particular cocktail he would make, which he called an “Icky”. The “icky” part may have been a reference to the Nagaimo yam, which he grated into the cocktail, as it had a somewhat slimy appearance and texture. Or maybe it was the raw quail egg that I seem to remember seeing in it. Whatever the case, I never went near that drink. But suddenly watching Jay “modernize” it, I was very intrigued.
He started with a shot of “silver” sake from Momokawa (although you could use whichever one you want). To that he added a small squirt of Sriracha, and a small dash of tamari. Then he grated a little bit of a Nagaimo yam into it, added a few thinly sliced scallions and a few shakes of hot chili sesame oil. OMG that was good! Seriously (and I never say OMG!), that was one delicious drink. You have to drink it in one shot though, otherwise the grated yam is a little too weird. But seriously folks, this cocktail is like a little mini meal in a shot glass, almost a cold soup. Jay is now the master of the “Icky”, and there are no quail eggs in sight!
If you’re wondering about the Nagaimo yam, you can read more about it here. We found it at Uwajimaya market in Portland. It’s kind of cool, and I’m sure you could have some fun experimenting with it. I’d love to hear if you do.