Thursday, August 2, 2012

Matcha Green Dragon Vodka Martini

Have you ever had a cocktail that was that was actually good for you?  AND delicious?  Well, good for you in moderation, of course.  Today’s post is all about a cocktail I’ve been making that is chock full of good-for-you stuff - antioxidants, amino acids, chlorophyll and even fiber.  Don't turn up your nose, I SAID it was yummy!  What’s the secret to this healthy cocktail?  Matcha.  What the heck is matcha?  Here are the facts, Jack.

Matcha is the same finely ground Japanese green tea used in the beautiful and traditional Japanese tea ceremony.  One cup of matcha is nutritionally equal to 10 cups of brewed green tea because you’re consuming the dissolved powder, not just flavoring hot water and removing the leaves after brewing. The finely ground tea leaves actually become part of the beverage. 

L-theanine, one of the key amino acids in matcha, is believed to relax one’s mind.  Imagine how relaxed it will be after a combo of matcha and vodka!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. 

I came up with this cocktail early in the year for one of the Annapolis foodie weekends as a complement to the Asian portion of the menu – I wanted something light and refreshing.  I started with a Buddha’s Hand vodka infusion.  (Okay…I see even more explanation is needed.)

Buddha’s Hand is a citrus fruit.  You don’t eat it like an orange, only the skin of the fruit is used and there is no pulp at all.  Slightly bitter and intensely citrusy, it’s sort of lime-y, lemony, tangerine-y and grapefruit-y all mixed together, but even more exotic in flavor.  Wonder where it got its name?  Take a look at this.

Buddha's Hand - Approx. 7" high

And this.
Comedy shot!

Where did I ever find Buddha's Hand?  Giant Eagle Market District in Pittsburgh.  It's a seasonal fruit, like oranges, so look for it at better produce stores in fall and winter months.  Of course, you can always substitute your favorite citrusy vodka for the Buddha’s Hand infusion…Absolut Citron is perfect or lemon, orange or lime vodka. 

Where do you find the matcha?  Any fine coffee and tea emporium carries it - Nicholas Coffee in Market Square or Prestogeorge in the Strip (both in Pittsburgh, but any city will have it somewhere).  It might sound pricey ($5-6 an ounce), but it’s light as a feather and a quarter ounce will last you a while.  
Give it a you think it will be the amino acids or the vodka that relaxes you most?  The Matcha Green Dragon Martini really is a nice soothing, relaxing and healthful way to enjoy cocktail time.  And it's pretty, too.  Cheers.

Matcha Green Dragon Vodka Martini

  • 1 teaspoon matcha
  • 1 ounce hot water
  • 2 ounces St. Germain
  • 1 ounce Buddha's Hand Infused Vodka
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 ounce ginger simple syrup

Completely dissolve the matcha in the hot water using a small whisk.  Add to the tin of a cocktail shaker.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the shaker, fill 3/4 up with ice.  Cap tightly and shake until the tin frosts.
Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of starfruit.
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