Gung Hay Fat Choy! Lychee Blood Orange Martini

Welcome Year of the Tiger!

I was going to make two dumplings to celebrate Chinese New Years. These delicious and umami-packed sustainable sardine puffs I saw on Pat Tanumihardja's Asian Grandmother's site (and she submitted for Teach a Man to Fish): see Sardines Wrapped in a Sustainable (and Baby-friendly) Package. I was also going to make these lamb curry puffs from Andrea Nguyen, too. Really, I was.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the kitchen...we got lured into Chinatown by gently swaying red lanterns hung for the holiday and the promise of good food. So we wandered out...

Festive red lanterns strung all along Beach Street.

Here's our whole fish with ginger and scallion, gailan on the side.

Then we were surprised with an invitation to friends' get-together which included lots of great food and fun.

We gorged ourselves on dim sum this morning and then planned to clean - having post-poned it from yesterday. (One should not sweep or clean on Chinese New Year as you might "sweep out the luck.")

As we've been liquidating, consolidating, and freecycling the remnants of my storage unit, we kind of didn't get to the vacuuming today, either. What we did do was find a home for 400 CDs, three boxes of household items are boxed for a friend of a friend setting up her first place. We also cleared out a closet, re-organized and re-packed. Feels good to start getting the place back in order after our little leakage problem.

One thing I thought I could still muster tonight? A celebration cocktail!

This is the Blood Orange-Lychee Martini.

Red is the color for Chinese celebrations. I thought the Lychee would evoke the Lunar New Year and the glass is rimmed with Li Hing Mui powder. For the uninitiated, Li Hing Mui or Wa Mui is the Chinese snack of salted dried plums. The salt is flavored with licorice and often has a bit of orange peel. So I rimmed the glass with Li Hing Mui and salt mixture. I blended the drink as follows:

  • 2 ounces Bols Genever
  • 1/2 ounce Blood Orange juice
  • 1/2 ounce lychee syrup
  • one lychee for garnish

Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously and pour into prepared glass. Garnish with lychee.

The li hing mui salt and blood orange juice off-set the floral notes of the Bols Genever, the lychee adds a wonderful deep floral flavor. I'm enjoying Adam Leith Gollner's The Fruit Hunters which describes the lychee as "fabulously fragrant and expensive..like the Imperial Concubine's laugh." Ah..so.

Well this drink is really a fine way to start the new year concubine or not.

Gung Hay Fat Choi!