With plans to schmooze and booze your way through the holidays, your hostess skills will be put to the test to come up with creative twists to prolong the party and keep guests from getting so tipsy they break your tinsel. We checked in with Mara King, co-owner of Boulder-based Ozuké, on a suggestion for a lighter version of a festive and flavorful martini. What we got? A yummy cocktail made with Shochu, a Japanese liquor similar to vodka – but lower in alcohol content and calories. The star of this sip is a locally-made gem: sweet umeboshi plums pickled by Ozuké.
1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar and sea salt
Few drops of orange water (or plain ol’ water if you don’t have it)
1 large Ozuké umeboshi plum (or 2 small)
3 oz Shochu
Dash of simple syrup
Dash of lemon juice
Mint or, if available, shiso leaf
Lightly moisten rim of cocktail glass with orange water or water. Mix together sea salt and superfine sugar, place on a flat dish, dip rim of moistened glass in mixture. Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Crush umeboshi under flat side of knife. Add umeboshi and muddle with ice. Add Shochu, simple syrup, lemon juice and some mint or shiso leaf. Shake well and strain. Garnish with mint or shiso leaf.