I’m a big fan of Simply Ming on PBS (in fact, I’m just a big fan of cooking shows on PBS in general).
But Simply Ming seems to be one of the only platforms on TV where real, heavyweight chefs can come and showcase a dish (Daniel Boulud and Shaun Hergatt were recent guests). And he always starts the show with a cocktail, usually something simple and elegantly-made, which he offers to the guest before they get cooking. When pastry chef extraordinaire Johnny Iuzzini was on the show recently, Ming made him one of his favorite cocktails–a cocktail that Johnny said he always orders at a new bar to see if they make it right–a simple daiquiri with white rum, lime juice, and simple syrup.
Something about that combo really intrigued me (and also the fact that it’s a classic cocktail) so the next time I was at Barkeep in Silverlake, I picked up a bottle of white rum, the one you see at the top of this post. I had the limes, I had the sugar and water, I also had (foreboding music) the cocktail shaker.
Turns out, I also had kaffir lime leaves which I’d picked up at Cookbook in Echo Park which I keep mentioning in these posts, so you know it must be a pretty great store.
I decided to infuse those into the simple syrup for extra lime flavor. That was just a matter of mixing equal parts of sugar and water (a cup each) and dropping in the leaves; bringing it to a boil until the sugar dissolved and turning off the heat.
After letting it sit for twenty minutes, I strained the mixture into a jar…
Or, actually, just poured it into a jar and then placed it in the fridge.
A few hours later, I looked up Ming’s recipe which seemed delightfully simple: 2 ounces clear Rum, 1 ounce fresh lime juice, 3/4 ounce simple syrup, lime wheel for garnish, ice. Then: “Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Give a hard shake and double strain into a coupe glass.”
I did exactly that, everything except “double strain into a coupe glass” because as the title of this post suggests… I couldn’t get the cocktail shaker open!
I tried banging it, I tried hitting it, I tried tapping it, I tried yelling at it, I tried putting it between my feet and pulling upwards, I tried tying it to a toy train and pushing the speed up to max, I tried dropping it off a tall building, I tried lighting it on fire, I tried singing to it, dancing with it, telling it that it was the most beautiful cocktail shaker in all the world.
But it wouldn’t budge. So I did the next best thing: I made the drink again, but this time in a measuring cup with ice.
And then stirred actively for about a minute until I knew all the liquid was chilled (which is the point of shaking with ice, really. Just ask James Bond.)
Then I poured it into a coupe, just like the recipe said:
And it was a most excellent drink, I really wanted more of it. Next time I’ll probably double the portions of everything. And also, next time, I’ll use a different cocktail shaker? Or your advice in the comments, which you’ll inevitably give. I welcome it. Cheers!