Toast Tuesday has snuck up on me again and this time I really am reporting a failure. No one in Memphis has heard of Huangjiu (sounds like wong-jo) and I did not have an unknown secret stash tucked in a closet. I looked in every liquor store I passed. I asked the one Chinese person I’ve met here. And I went through every case of booze I have tucked away. Nothing.
I’m going to bookmark this spirit and revisit it. I’m going to look for it every time I go to a new city of any boozey repute until I find it. You will know as soon as I do.
In the meantime, a very brief description of huangjiu. In A Year of Drinking Adventurously, Jeff Cioletti tells us that huangjiu translates to “yellow wine” or sometimes “yellow liquor”, but that neither of these descriptors are accurate. Not quite a wine and definitely not a liquor, we have huangjiu
A rice based beverage that does not go through a distillation process. It can include a variety of grains including millet and wheat. Very often, the resulting drink isn’t yellow. Most often used for cooking, our author says that’s fine for some of the cheaper ones, but the finer ones are worth savoring. Traditionally served warm, about 120 degrees, you can now find huangjiu mixed into cocktails.
I’m not going into much more. Not having tried this, I’m winging it. What I will tell you is what I drank instead. In honor of a rice based adult beverage, I skipped ahead a little. More like a big toe in the pond.
I made a sake margarita. We had a brief couple days of spring like weather before it plunged into the Arctic again. When there is sunshine, there’s margaritas!
Hitting my local liquor store I went to see what I had for a selection of sake. I know I like drier, rather than sweet ones and luckily most give you a description or scale on the back.
I picked a pretty bottle with a flower that said medium dry and went to google for some guidance and this is what we came up with.
1 1/2 oz sake
1/2 oz triple sec
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1/3 oz simple syrup
Shake with ice and serve up or on the rocks. Your pick.
The next sunny day give this a whirl. Your sneering sake naysayer friends will be bowled over when you tell them what they’ve just enjoyed.
Here’s to Tuesday!