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To make it, he starts with Japanese whiskey and uses “acid-corrected” green apple juice instead of traditional citrus for balance. “When using juice with a fairly neutral ph, citrus must often be added to balance the cocktail. Instead of diluting the flavor with lemon or lime, we add asorbic acid powder directly to the juice instead,” he says. “The acid also helps preserve the bright green color of the apples, which turn brown nearly instantaneously after juicing or being cut for the garnish.” Nichols also adds a housemade ginger-white miso syrup (made by adding a small amount of miso to ginger simple syrup) and tinctures he makes in house with fresh, grated wasabi and whole, fresh mitsuba (Japanese parsley). “They’re submerged in high-proof grain alcohol at a 1 to 10 ratio for around a week. They add complexity to the drink and play off the spice of the ginger syrup.”
The Kitsune is just one of The Elk Room signatures that Nichols recently starting bottling for takeout orders. “It made sense to offer some of our ‘classics’ on our to-go menu,” he says. “And we make all of our to-go drinks to-order to ensure the quality of the ingredients.”