I recently went on a trip to Naples, Florida, where I spent a much-needed escape from New York City’s winter weather relaxing poolside with my best friend, Jane, at the Ritz-Carlton. With so many dining options, we had a difficult time deciding where to fill our bellies—but we had no problem deciding where to try a cocktail: Dusk, a softly lit lounge with couches nestled gently into corners, perfect for catching up over a drink. Like much of the food menu, the cocktail list featured Asian flavors and seasonal ingredients, and I fell in love with one drink in particular: a refreshing combination of Sencha-infused gin, sake, yuzu juice, and pickled ginger syrup topped with soda water and garnished with fresh grapes. The bright, tart yuzu flavor was made complex and earthy by the Sencha tea, creating a depth that was easy to appreciate, and Jane and I found ourselves enjoying a few more drinks than we had planned on. The pool deck and Gulf breezes the next day were more than just relaxing; they were therapeutic. Since returning to my cold Brooklyn apartment, I’ve made an at-home version inspired by the Dusk’s libation in hopes of transporting myself back to the warm Gulf Coast. It takes me there every time.
Friday Cocktails: The Sencha Sour