The heart of the seemingly ever-expanding Pok Pok empire of Thai restaurants (or should we say nouveau Thai?) is Andy Ricker. At his Pok Pok restaurants in Portland and New York City, the chef serves amazing drinking vinegars with a vaguely tropical bent that he's been kind enough to share with the wider public (us!).
We’re currently obsessing over the Thai Basil Cocktail Mixer. It’s a balanced flavor-punch of fresh Thai basil (which, FYI, is a little more floral than Italian basil), sparked by vinegar and a little salt, and perfectly sweetened with cane sugar. It adds a bright, vacationy vibe to any drink, anytime.
Mix it with seltzer and it's the best herbal soda you've ever tasted – and the shrub cocktail options only get better from there. Not too sweet, not too tart; once you've tried it, you'll be as crazy for drinking vinegar as we are. (Oh, and we are crazy.)
For a super easy cocktail on the fly, just mix 1 part Thai Basil Cocktail Mixer with 4 parts seltzer, soda or filtered water. If you're looking for something stronger, we love adding White Pike White and a little seltzer. It may be the best showcase for white whiskey we've tasted.
If you want to get even crazier, try using it to deglaze a pan! We especially like using it to create a pan sauce after frying up a pork chop. Or splash some on a raw papaya salad! Cut papaya into thin matchsticks (chunks work, too), add some hand-torn Thai basil leaves, some chile flakes, a splash of Thai Basil Cocktail Mixer and pretend you’re in Thailand. We also like using it as liquid to braise delicate white fish, like halibut.
See you on the other side.