Nida, owner of Nida’s sushi in the North Market is opening a new Thai restaurant in the Short North called Nida’s Thai on High. It will be a couple of doors south of Zen Cha, so couldn’t be more convenient for me. The opening is imminent, so some helpers were enlisted to help to create cocktails for the new drinks menu. How can one refuse an offer like that? The restaurant features a full bar, albeit with a bizarre liquor license that allows spirits and beer but nothing under 40 proof. So, whisky and vodka is fine, but no wine or sake?! Welcome to Ohio licensing.
Bear and Colleen (of Slow Food fame) are masters of infusions and created a host of Thai inspired vodka infusions and simple syrups to test. The infusions included rambutan, longan, tea, lemongrass, lime, peanut, jackfruit, ginger, galangal, hot pepper, thai basil and cardamom.
The peanut vodka was definitely the winner as the overall favorite infusion and spawned lots of cocktail ideas – some thai and some more Ohio. How could we resist creating a buckeye cocktail!
One of the versions of what may become a pad-thai-tini: peanut vodka, lime juice, peanut simple syrup and lime vodka. There were several incarnations of similar cocktails and they were all good, even with some chili vodka. I am not sure whether a dried shrimp garnish would be enticing though?!
One of the other big hits was a thai iced coffee martini made with expresso vodka and sweetened condensed milk and a cinnamon stick stirrer. It is dangerously good. There were also some similar versions of thai ice tea with tea infused vodka. Delicious.
The longan infused vodka was also a winner. Longans are similar to lychees and the vodka was good with orange bitters.
The experimentation was certainly fun and I can’t wait to see (and try) the cocktails that Nida decides on. I am excited for the grand opening – cocktails, thai food and sushi and a short walk home.