Cocktail of the Week #9: Speak Low

Forget Ned Stark and his climate change warnings because right now the only season on my mind (and my fellow New Yorkers’s minds) is Fall. Cool, breezy, crisp Fall, a time of sweaters, fingerless gloves and a whole new crop of cocktails to enjoy. This week, we’ll talk about one such tipple, the “Speak Low”:

Jazzheads will recognize the name from the classic Kurt Weill song, while New York cocktail geeks may recognize the drink itself from the Japanese-staffed oasis, Angel’s Share.

Speak Low

  •  1.75oz Dark or Aged Rum
  • .5oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry
  • 1 tsp Matcha Powder
  • (Optional) Oils from one Grapefruit Twist

This is a relatively easy one to make, requiring no more than Dark Rum, Pedro Ximenez Sherry and Matcha Powder, as demonstrated in this video, with perhaps the most perplexing questions being:

  1. Where the hell do I get matcha powder?
  2. What’s a “chasen”?

As was mentioned in the most recent issue of Imbibe, there are three main grades of matcha powder (from highest to lowest): koicha, usuicha, culinary grade. For this cocktail, you’re going to want to use koicha (thick) or usuicha (thin), which you can find at a place such as Harney & Sons. For 30g, you can expect to pay somewhere between $12 and $28.

Personally, I opted for the koicha because I was looking to recreate to the Angel’s Share experience to the best of my ability. That being said, I did not not opt to buy the “chasen” (bamboo whisk) or “chawan” (tea bowl) that is traditionally used in preparing green tea. Instead, my method goes something like this:

  • Pour 1.75oz – 2oz of rum in a mixing tin
  • Add a tsp of matcha powder
  • Whisk with a clean wooden chopstick

While not as memorable as using the chawan/chasen combo, it gets the job done while only using standard bar equipment. After whisking, you can fine-strain this into a mixing glass, add your sherry, optional grapefruit twist oils, ice and then stir and fine-strain one last time over a large ice cube in a chilled rocks glass.

Voilà, easy as can be.

And if you’re looking for other uses for that matcha powder, consider using it for any of these:

  • Baked goods
  • Garnish for fizzes and flips
  • Part of the base for drinks with cream or egg white
  • The world’s most expensive confetti

Enjoy our Cocktail of the Week posts? Check out the archives!

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