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Author Notes: There's an izakaya in Portland named Biwa that I really love. In addition to really delicious food, it has a great cocktail list. Last time I was at Biwa, I had the genmai chuhai—a shochu "haiball" flavored with toasted rice and vanilla. The toasted rice gave it a slightly unusual, but remarkably pleasant flavor. The cocktail is much like a soda and sweeter than I typically prefer, but the toasty rice flavor really won me over. After several sips I decided I had to try to replicate it. —hardlikearmour
Food52 Review: Good recipe—tasted great and very refreshing. It has a Creamsicle taste to it. It's a sweeter drink, so great for a hot summer day. It was a bit time consuming for a beverage recipe, mainly because you have to toast the rice and let that cool and make the syrup and that also has to cool. So you would want to make the syrup in advance. (I also nearly smoked out the entire house toasting the rice.) The directions were easy to follow and they do mention that toasting rice will smoke, so I was prepared. —maryGpastorek
Makes about 1 1/2 cups syrup
Toasted Rice Syrup
- 1 cup sweet rice (sometimes called glutinous or sticky rice)*
- 1 cup evaporated cane juice (or substitute granulated or turbinado sugar)
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 450° F. Spread rice into a thin layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, stirring several times, about 15 minutes. When done, the rice should look similar to toasted coconut. Warning: Toasting the rice will generate some smoke.
- While the oven is preheating, combine sugar and water in a high-sided saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Once the rice is in the oven, heat sugar mixture over medium with the lid on the pan. Gently swirl the pan occasionally to help dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat.
- Pour the toasted rice into the sugar syrup. It will bubble vigorously, so use caution. Add the vanilla extract. Cover and let come to room temperature.
- Strain the mixture though a mesh strainer. Refrigerate.
- *Sweet rice can be found in Asian markets. You may be tempted to substitute another variety of rice, but please don't—it just won't taste right!
Toasted Rice Chuhai
- 1 1/2 ounces Jinro Soju
- 1 1/2 ounces toasted rice syrup
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar (or substitute lemon juice)
- Combine Soju, toasted rice syrup, and vinegar in a highball glass (12 to 14 ounces). Add several ice cubes (fill glass 1/3 to 1/2 way). Fill glass with seltzer. Stir gently to combine. Serve.
- Note: Feel free to adjust the proportions to taste or leave out the Soju for a non-alcoholic soda.
- This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
- This recipe is a Community Pick!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cocktail