Further North, A Bitter Melon-Infused Cocktail

bitter melon cocktail

Courtesy Andrew Call, Bacchus Bar, Portland, OR

Bitter Melons
Bitter Melons / Getty

At first glance, this is a deceptively simple maple-and-apple drink. But the key ingredient here is saké infused with bitter melon—a gourd some experts say offers beneficial health properties. Put it all together, this is a complex cocktail, as aromas and flavors meld and unfold as the crushed ice melts.

(Call uses Momokawa, an Oregon-made saké, but says any crisp, dry saké will do the trick.)

  • 1½ ounces bitter melon-infused saké (see below)
  • 1 ounce apple cider
  • ¾ ounce Clear Creek apple brandy
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce maple syrup
  • 1 bar spoon Aperol
  • Lemon twist, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients (except garnish). Shake well. Double-strain into a rocks glass over crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Bitter Melon-Infused Saké
  • 1 bottle dry, crisp saké, like Momokawa
  • 1 bitter melon

Cut the melon lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and pith. Slice into smaller pieces. In a mason jar, combine the saké and melon pieces. Cover and refrigerate 3–4 days. Remove from refrigerator and double strain.

Published on January 26, 2017
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She’s the author of several cocktail books, including Shake.Stir.Sip., NIGHTCAP: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening and Cocktails With a Twist, released August 2019. Email: spirits@wineenthusiast.net

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