The first time I had gin and tonic was when I was in college. At a bar? No, no, no. I grew up in a very strict family. My curfew in college was 9:30 p.m., and my dad didn’t want me to live on my own. In the US, kids move out after they turn 18 or so. In Taiwan, it’s very different. My dad preferred his girl to stay at home for as long as possible. I never knew what it was like to go to bars in college. So, where did I have my first gin and tonic? At home! Gin and tonic is my dad’s favorite. His version of gin and tonic is made of Hendrick’s Gin with tonic water and a slice of cucumber.
Because of my fond memories of gin and tonics, I wanted to create a unique recipe to share with you. First, I needed a gin. I love to support independent local businesses and brands. When I make cocktails, I like to find local, funky alcohols. With the help of the amazing staff from Vinodivino, I found a locally made gin called Short Path. The Short Path gin has a beautiful aroma that reminds me of a late summer evening in Taipei. It is an approachable, easy-to-drink, American-style gin. Crafted in handmade, copper pot stills in Everett, Massachusetts, Short Path Gin is made with organic ingredients to create a bright and floral spirit with distinct, pleasant notes of lemongrass, lavender, and eucalyptus.
After finding a nice gin, I decided to sweeten my recipe with one of my favorite fruits. Since I was little, my favorite summer fruit has been lychee. Taiwan has a reputation for being the Kingdom of Fruit. Since it’s located in the tropical zone, we have delicious fruit all year round. Every summer, I asked Mrs. Sun, the lady who cooked for the family, to get the fresh and juicy lychee from our market. Since she got us organic lychee, sometimes there would be worms. Even though I am now in my mid-thirties, I vividly remember seeing the tiny little green worms inside the lychee and screaming for help. Besides the gross worms, the memory of lychee has always been sweet and luscious.
So, here is my Asian Jade recipe – lychee gin and tonic, a homage to my dad!
Asian Jade - Lychee Gin and Tonic
- Cocktail Shaker
- Citrus juicer
- Professional Japanese Style Double-Sided Cocktail Jigger
- Collins Glass
- Atomizer (Spray Bottle)
- 1 3/4 oz gin
- 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 oz lychee puree
- 1/2 oz homemade grenadine
- Splash of rose water
- club soda
- Shake the gin, lime, lychee, and grenadine together. Strain into a glass of your choice.
Variation tip:This could be served straight up, or in a Collins glass with a club soda topper. As for the rose water, I like to put it in an atomizer (spray bottle) and spritz the inside of the glass before pouring in the drink. During the summer, I sometimes find fresh lychee in Asian supermarkets. During off-seasons, you can find lychees in a jar for garnish. Otherwise, a lime wheel looks great.
Chef’s tip:Here is the quick recipe for homemade grenadine: 1:1 POM juice to sugar dissolved with a splash of orange blossom water.
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Chief Entertainment Officer
Melissa is 100% MIT (Made in Taiwan), where she worked as a food writer. She’s also worked alongside renowned chefs like Ming Tsai and Joanne Chang, honing her craft and gathering stories along the way. Part story-teller, part educator, and part food lover, Melissa brings a special blend of experience, skill, and enthusiasm to her work. She blends her Asian background, her new home of New England, and love of food and culture to bring joy, optimism, and inspiration to food lovers and fun-seekers everywhere.
What sparked your passion for the industry?
The desire to make things by hand. The joy of sharing delicious, hearty food with students. The opportunity for people to get connected via cooking and baking. When a child smiled broadly and told me it’s the best scone he has ever made and eaten, it really made my day!
In your opinion, what’s the most important course?
Well, I usually take a peek at the wine list first. I like tapas style, so the course doesn’t really matter. Cheese and charcuterie are always a good place to start. And since I’m a pastry chef, there is always room for dessert!
Bill Gates is picking up your tab, where would you go?