Booze + Book Pairings: The Interpreter and NORTHERN HARVEST
Each week, WSU Press will be pairing our books with the insanely beautiful drink creations of Gates Otsuji, founder of Controlled Substances, a bar and beverage consultancy based in Brooklyn.
This week we have the The Interpreter and Northern Harvest: Twenty Michigan Women in Food and Farming
This cocktail was inspired by the story of Susan Odom. I was completely drawn in by her search to find her passion and purpose. As she tells it, she began looking inward by searching outwardly, but ultimately found what she was seeking by stripping away layers of time, to recover generations of lost memories and forgotten ways of doing things. This cocktail is about taking our ideas of flavor and putting them through similar hoops. There is an overlooked flavor pairing between strawberries and tomatoes, and here we go one step further, by pickling them together and using that sweet-savory brine to re-interpret the dirty martini. I chose Detroit-born Valentine Distillery’s White Blossom elderflower vodka for a surprise ending.
white blossom vodka, bianco vermouth, pickled strawberry brine, gentian
1. In a mason jar, place 3.5g pink peppercorns, 2.5 g dried hibiscus, and 25g golden grape tomatoes. Then, remove the leaves from 65g strawberries and place them in the jar.
2. Place a saucepan over medium heat. Pour in 250g water and 150 g champagne vinegar. Stir in 75g honey and add a small pinch of salt. Bring mixture to a simmer.
3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Pour the mixture into a mason jar and seal the lid. Refrigerate overnight.
Extra credit: Try adding contrasting spices, like caraway, green cardamom pods, or a cinnamon stick, to add complexity to the brine.
Feeling super fancy? Swap the golden grape tomatoes for huskcherries.
1. To a mixing glass add 2 parts white blossom vodka, 1 part Bianco Vermouth, ½ part pickled strawberry brine, 3 dashes gentian bitters.
2. Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir until fully diluted. Then strain the drink into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a fresh or pickled strawberry, as you like.
Gates Otsuji is the founder of Controlled Substances, a bar and beverage consultancy based in Brooklyn, with more than two decades of experience creating cocktail programs for brands like The Standard, Starr Restaurants, and The Edition. As a third-generation Detroiter, Gates is thrilled to partner with WSU Press for this series.
Northern Harvest looks at the female culinary pioneers who have put northern Michigan on the map for food, drink, and farming. Emita Brady Hill interviews women who share their own stories of becoming the cooks, bakers, chefs, and farmers that they are today—each even sharing a delicious recipe or two. These stories are as important to tracing the gastronomic landscape in America as they are to honoring the history, agriculture, and community of Michigan.