Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tokyo Fog

Not too long ago, Rob posted on Twitter that he was about to work on a "Tokyo Fog" based beer. I was pretty sure I was the only person who knew exactly what he was talking about, and quite certain I was the only one who cried out in delight.

Long ago, in the before time known as college, Rob and I had a mutual friend (hi Eric!) who one day showed up at our local coffee shop with a grand announcement. Earlier in the day he had gone to the annual book sale of our hamlet's library, and one of the tomes he had picked up was a cookbook published in the 50's which was geared toward men. What this meant, it seemed, was that the chapter with vegetables had been omitted so that the author could put in more meat dishes. Dishes which contained a preponderance of butter or cream -- Often times both. Of course, there was also a healthy chapter on drinks. It was from this book that Eric became fascinated with the Manhattan, and eventually perfected his personal recipe -- The one which planted the seed in me that would later bloom fully decades later in New York.

But that's not what this is about. No, this missive is about far less sophisticated, dangerous drink which also emanated from that grand work. The infamous Tokyo Fog.

We first heard about this drink as part of the enticement to attend a BBQ Eric was throwing at his house. It was far from needed, as it was generally difficult to keep us away from functions at Eric's place, but it was a welcome tantalization in the midst of a classic Oregon heat wave. So what is this Tokyo Fog you are probably wondering? It's a simple compound consisting of equal parts Bourbon, coffee, and vanilla ice cream. It's mixed into a slurry, and stored in the freezer overnight to reconstitute into what can only be described as sort of a milkshake consistency.

We were well into the consumption of many grilled items when Eric finally brought out the bowl. The sort of milkshake consistency wasn't the most appetizing of looks for a beverage, but how can one go wrong with a combination of three delicious things? Indeed it was delicious, tasting almost exactly like a coffee milkshake -- With no hint of the Bourbon. It was a perfect drink for the day, as the heat would continue to pound us well into the evening. Some of us (ahem) gravitated to it more than others, and we soon found out that just because one couldn't taste the Bourbon didn't mean it wasn't very much there. Just ask the guy who drank the sausage beer. The less said about that the better.

As I've learned more about cocktails, I've found that there are some drinks that shouldn't exist, and some drinks that are best suited to a particular place and time. The Tokyo Fog -- rough, and inelegant -- is a drink in the latter category. I've recommended it as a batch drink for BBQs, though personally, on a really hot day I'd mostly prefer a Dark N' Stormy, or a Daiquiri. Then again, in a backyard filled with friends, and an embarrassment of girllable riches, a big cup (red SOLO please) of Tokyo Fog would be a welcome sight indeed.

As to the naked ambition of capturing those flavors in a beer brewed by one of those with whom I shared that first taste, and memories? Fuck yeah.