Surviving Swimsuit Season, Cocktail in Hand

While our neighbors to the north are cursing the weather and donning another sweater, we Floridians are embracing a new month and a new season – it’s never too early for a little sunshine and a new bikini. And while we’re welcoming the warmth of March, some of us have been silently (or not so) dreading the approach of what I like to call the Spring Scale-a-thon, a time we spend shedding the weight we gained during what was, in my opinion, one of the coldest winters we’ve had in the last few years. The Gin Kimchi Cocktail, brought to us by mixologist legend Scott Beattie, incorporates fresh herbs and pickled roots for a savory cocktail best served poolside. If you’re unfamiliar with Kimchi, fear not. This naturally fermented superfood preserves nutrients – prebiotics that are already in fresh vegetables while simultaneously self-generating probiotics. Crunchy and tangy, Kimchi has bold flavors, which stimulate the complex taste buds while removing toxins in the stomach. Meet bar season, bikini season and beach season head on with a superfood cocktail of fresh produce and savory taste.

If you’re planning on making this cocktail the center of a party, plan ahead and begin the pickling process beforehand. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the cocktail
1 1/2 oz gin • 3/4 oz lemon juice • 1/2 oz ginger-honey syrup
3/4 oz ginger beer • 8 pieces pickled ginger • 8 pieces pickled daikon
5 shiso leaves, cut into chiffonade

For the ginger-honey syrup
1/2 cup honey • 1/2 cup water • 1/4 cup freshly grated ginger

Add the honey and the water to a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the honey is combined. Add the ginger, turn off the heat, and let steep for 5 minutes. Once steeped, strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

For the pickled ginger
1/2 pound ginger, peeled and sliced in 1/8-inch pieces • 1 1/3 cups pickling liquid (see below) • 1 small red beet, cooked and peeled

In a saucepan over high heat, bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Place the ginger pieces in an airtight container and pour the boiling water over the ginger. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Drain out the water and place the ginger back into the container. In a saucepan over high heat, bring the pickling liquid to a boil. Remove from heat and pour the pickling liquid over the blanched ginger pieces. Cut the beet into 5 slices and add it into the container with the ginger. Place the container, uncovered, in the refrigerator to cool. Remove the beet when the ginger achieves the pink color of your taste. The ginger will keep for up to 3 weeks refrigerated and covered in an airtight container.

For the pickled daikon
6-inch daikon, peeled and thinly sliced • 2 cups pickling liquid

Add the sliced daikon to an airtight container. Separately, in a saucepan over high heat, bring the pickling liquid to a boil and pour it over the daikon pieces. Place the container, uncovered, in the refrigerator to cool. Store refrigerated and covered for up to one week. Note: the pickled daikon will smell…interesting, but don’t let that fool you – they taste delicious!

For the pickling liquid (yields about 3 1/3 cups)
2 cups rice wine vinegar • 2/3 cup mirin • 2/3 cups filtered sake
1 cup sugar

Combine the vinegar, mirin, and sake in a saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, add the sugar, and stir until it dissolves. Store in airtight container.

Once all your preliminary ingredients have been pickled, combine the gin, lemon juice, and ginger syrup into shaker, stirring generously. Next, add the pickled ginger, daikon, and shiso and fill with ice. Cover and shake a few times. Add the ginger beer, pour into a highball glass and serve with a good book, a beach blanket and a floppy hat.

Recipe courtesy of Honestlyyum • Visit for photos of this month’s drink of choice.