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Thursday, September 6, 2012


Today is my birthday.  I invented a new drink called The Pearl Martini (above, the Hawaii State Flower, yellow hibiscus with red center, in the background, is optional):

  2 ounces of gin
  Tablespoon of Cointreau (or Triple Sec will do)
  Two halves of calamansi (a tiny Filipino lime, also called calamondin, with a distinctive citrus taste)
  Tablespoon of pomelo / li hing mui confiture
  A lot of crushed ice

It is tangy, sour, sweet and tasty.  The perfect drink to test the limits of your buds.  I was close to calling it a Pearl Gimlet, but a martini is more chimeric.  You must try it.

For me, the gin can be anything with juniper flavor, for the concoction masks even that essence.  However, Tanqueray #10 will do quite well if you feel extravagant.

A confiture is a preserve, and in this case, take the flesh of a whole pomelo, add a teaspoonful of li hing powder, pour over sufficient gin, and store in a refrigerator for as long as you want.  It lasts forever.  If you can't find li hing powder, go to your local Chinatown and ask:

You can also link with and have two packages sent to you for $11, plus shipping.  Each will last you a lifetime.

Don't know what a pomelo is?  In Hawaii, it is known as jabong.  The fruit itself can can be whitish or pinkish (the bottom is flatter).  A grapefruit came from a marriage of an orange and a pomelo.  If you can't find a pomelo in your supermarket, use a grapefruit.

If you don't readily have a calamansi:

...use a lime.  A gimlet, as you might know, is just half gin and half Rose's lime juice, while a martini is gin or vodka with a touch of white vermouth, and, if necessary, topped with anything you want, like an olive, twist of lemon peel or pearl onion.  James Bond, in the books by Ian Fleming, actually had most of his martinis with both vodka and gin, sometimes together, shaken, not stirred.  The movie Bonds, however, mostly ordered vodka martinis.  To be perfectly correct, the classic martini uses gin, stirred, NOT shaken, in ice.  I significantly enhanced the combination.  I did not say shaken nor stirred, for I like to keep the crushed ice in the glass.

I'm actually famous for inventing drinks.  Buca di Beppo is considering my creation called the Pat Royale.  Many start a French meal with a Kir Royale, which is just champagne with  a dash of Creme de Cassis.  In an Italian restaurant, what better than Prosecco (an Italian sparkling wine) with limoncello?

The Perfect Pearl Martini can be made from 2 ounces of Pearl Black Vodka and 2 drops of Vermouth with a pimento stuffed green olive (left), or a wild concoction based on Crown Royal bourbon and St. Germain liquer with lemon juice, vanilla extract and pear nectar (right).

Therefore I had to distinguish mine from theirs.  Thus, The Pearl Martini, for I met Pearl on my birthday exactly 50 years ago.  The Manager of Hutchinson Sugar Company, Bill Baldwin, mentioned to me that there was this extraordinary (he might have used a different term) nurse working in the next town, Pahala, from the Southernmost Community in the USA, Naalehu, where I was working as a sugar industry trainee for C. Brewer.  He was successful in setting up a blind date.  In a little more than three months we were married.  A decade later Bill and I shared an office working for U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga in D.C.

Hurricanes Leslie at 75 MPH and John at 115 MPH are loitering around in the mid-Atlantic, with Leslie threatening Bermuda.  If you project their paths, both will miss the USA, and head for Nova Scotia.  However, there is a possibility that they could crash into each other first:


The evening ended with a fabulous rooftop Shabu-Shabu / sashimi / burdock (gobo) / lotus (hasu) featuring three cuts of wagyu beef and the #1 rice, Niigata Koshihikari.  We had a bottle of Kaho-Gura Junmai Daiginjo sake.  Joining me were my floor neighbors, Debby and Dan, who also watch my apartment when I'm away.  Then came my birthday blueberry cheesecake with only one lit candle.  As Dan's photo made my blog a few weeks ago during our dinner at Morimoto's, here is Debby:


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