In the Limelight: Chinese New Year’s cocktails with Mixologist Kory Husson

January 31, 2014 -- Published by

Today is Chinese New Year or Spring festival, and marks the start of the Lantern festival- a celebration that will run until the 15th of February. So, what does one drink to celebrate Chinese New Year? We consulted Kory Husson, the Beverage Manager and Resident Mixologist at Plum Pan Asian Kitchen in Pittsburgh to taste some of his Clique Vodka cocktails featuring traditional Chinese ingredients. First up on the list:


1. Shijito

Chinese New Year's cocktails: Shijito

Shiso leaf is a close relative of the mint family, and is usually found on platters of sushi as an aromatic garnish. When combined with yuzu puree (a type of small citrus fruit originating in East Asia) and Clique Vodka, you end up with a refreshing cocktail that looks like a mojito, but has a sort of underlying bitter note from the yuzu that is balanced by the distinctly floral aroma of the shiso leaf.


Here’s the recipe:

Muddle 1 1/4 oz Clique Vodka with 8 green shiso leaves in a mixing glass until aromatic. Add ice, 1/4 oz yuzu puree, 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice and  1/4 oz simple syrup, then transfer contents to a collins glass. Top with soda water, and garnish by lightly smacking a shiso leaf between your palms to release the aromatic oils, then stand up against the inside of the glass.

Kory Husson's Shijito

Next Up:

2. Pushing The Red Envelope

Kory Husson double straining his "Pushing The Red Envelope"

For this cocktail, Kory muddles 2 dried Thai chilis with 2 oz of Clique Vodka in a mixing glass, then adds ice and 1 oz Godiva chocolate liqueur and 2 dashes of Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate bitters.  He shakes it very well, then double strains the cocktail using a standard Hawthorne strainer as well as a fine mesh one to catch all the tiny seeds.

To garnish he shaves a bit of dark chocolate on top, then carefully places a dried Thai chili on top.

Kory garnish his "Pushing The Red Envelope"

The serious spice imparted by the chilis is nicely rounded out by the creamy chocolate and spice from the bitters. Kory explains that the chilis are so spicy, the garnish will continue to flavor the drink as it sits- so if heat isn’t your thing, make sure you take it out immediately!

By the time I was halfway through my mouth was pleasantly on FIRE!

I took my chances and he was right! By the time I was halfway through my mouth was pleasantly on FIRE!

And lastly:



3. Ginger Crusta

For this final Chinese New Year inspired cocktail, Kory prepped the cocktail glass by rubbing the outer rim of it with a fresh lemon slice, then dipped it in sugar to coat. Then he shook 2 oz Clique Vodka, 1/4 oz yuzu puree, 1/4 oz lemongrass syrup and 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice in a cocktail tin, then strained it into the glass, and garnished it with a piece of candied ginger:

Kory Husson's Ginger Crusta


You can visit Plum Pan Asian Kitchen for more of Kory’s Asian inspired cocktails and be sure to take a look at their menu here.