I’ve been on a real Pok Pok tear lately — I’ve been cooking out of the book for the past few weeks and my daydreams have begun to feature fish sauce wings (a recipe I haven’t made yet). But even more than Ike’s famous wings, I have been craving a certain cocktail from Pok Pok — the salted plum vodka collins. Besides the odd beer here and there, this is the only thing I drink while dining there.
It is sweet, tart, tangy and intriguingly different from any other cocktail I’ve had. Once I discovered it, it was all I ever needed.
In fact I used to sit at the bar in the early days of Pok Pok (when it was less busy and you could actually just walk in and sit there) and stare down the bartender as he made it. I was determined to figure the recipe out — and after a few drinks one evening, I had it on mental lock down.
But alas, the day I was craving it the strongest, I didn’t have any salted plums on hand to get my fix. However I did have salted limes, which one of Pok Pok’s sister restaurants, The Whiskey Soda Lounge, uses in their salted lime vodka collins. Unsurprisingly, that is my go-to cocktail when I eat there.
Clearly there is a theme in my life — I like vodka drinks, I love salted things and put an Amarena cherry in there and I’m sold!
The ingredients for both cocktails are the same, except for the limes and plums, of course.
Now the salted limes and plums are not really palatable on their own, but muddled into a drink, they are phenomenal. They add a salinity I adore and a certain mouthfeel that I can never quite describe to people. It’s still a light, quenching drink but there is just something lingering and almost weighty about the flavor.
So hard to describe — guess you’ll just have to make it some time to see what I’m talking about! Which leads me to the exact recipe which features Andy Ricker himself (chef/owner of Pok Pok) whipping up the drink in a video format.
As you can see, it’s a seriously easy cocktail. Muddle, add ice and liquids, shake and serve. The hardest part is tracking down the salted fruit (found in many Asian markets) and the Amarena cherries (upscale grocery stores or online). And once you taste a sip, hopefully you’ll agree that this drink is one of the most delicious concoctions ever.
Here it is poured right from the shaker:
Finally — my favorite part — garnish with an Amarena cherry (or two).