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Japanese Home Cooking OCTOBER 2020

I hope you can find something worth toasting this month, because I’m ready to do a little celebrating! The Ninth Attachment is the original drink recipe created for the lovely readers who host pop-up book clubs for The Last Tea Bowl Thief, but I’d love to share it with you too.

These cocktails/mocktails are built around a surprise ingredient. It’s a traditional Japanese taste that’s becoming all the rage at modern Tokyo bars: fruit-infused vinegar. These apple-ginger sours are sophisticated and satisfying, with or without the alcohol.

The Ninth Attachment

Apple-Ginger Sour

Apple-ginger sour cocktail mocktail sparkling vinegar drinks with The Last Tea Bowl Thief

I hope you’ll laugh when you start reading The Last Tea Bowl Thief and understand what the name means! You can make the blush version (spiked or not) with your own Apple-Infused Red Wine Vinegar (see recipe below)…

Apple-ginger vinegar cocktail mocktail The Ninth Attachment

…or stir together this sophisticated golden version, with off-the-shelf apple cider vinegar

For one cocktail:

1/4 c. (60 ml) Apple-Ginger Sour Mixer (recipe below)

1/4 c. (60 ml) still or sparkling water

1/2 shot vodka or sho-chu (optional)*

Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Stir together, serve over ice.


For a pitcher of cocktails

Makes 8 c.(1.8 l)

4 c. (940 ml) Mixer (recipe below)

4 c. (940 ml) water, sparkling or still

4 shots vodka or shō-chū (optional)*

Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Stir together, serve over ice.

*You can add more alcohol to make these drinks as strong as you like, but I mix them a little weak because they go down so easy, people always come back for more!

Apple-Ginger Sour Mixer

Makes 2.25 cups (587 ml)

1 c. (235 ml) apple cider vinegar or Apple-Infused Red Wine Vinegar (recipe below)

1 c. (235 ml) apple juice (I use the lowlife kind—you know, the kind that comes in kids’ juice boxes—rather than the cloudier, unfiltered kind, because I like the drinks to be sparkly and clear, but please use whichever you prefer)

1/4 c. (117 ml) Ginger Simple Syrup (easy recipe below, or you can buy it ready-made)


Ginger Simple Syrup

Ginger simple syrup in clear pitcher

Makes 1 cup (235 ml)

1 c. (170 g) sugar

1 c. (235 ml) water

1 large knob of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin

Hand holding gresh ginger
Use a piece of ginger about as big as your hand
Slicing peeled fresh ginger
Peel it and slice it into thin coins

Stir the sugar and water together in a small saucepan over medium heat. When sugar has all dissolved, stir in ginger coins. Cover and bring to a light boil.

Boiling ginger simple syrup
This is the level of boiling to aim for

Turn the heat down slightly and simmer for fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for an hour with ginger still in the syrup. Strain out the ginger and store in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator. Ginger Simple Syrup can last in the refrigerator for a month.


Apple-Infused Red Wine Vinegar

You can make a quick version that’s cooked (left), or a slow version that takes a week of infusing in the refrigerator (right). The cooked version is milder and a little sweeter. The refrigerator version his a little more bite and is slightly more sour. The difference in color comes from the kind of red wine vinegar used—the lighter one is an inexpensive supermarket brand, the deeper one is a fancy French red wine vinegar.

Quick cooked version:

Makes 1 cup (235 ml)

2 c. (470 ml) red wine vinegar

4 T. (135 g) sugar

2 apples, not peeled, but cored and grated**

Stir all together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover and bring to a boil, watching that it doesn’t get too hot and boil over. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for five minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out apple pieces, pressing liquid from pulp.

Slower refrigerator version (takes one week):

Makes 1 cup (235 ml)

1 c. (470 ml) red wine vinegar

2 T. (135 g) sugar

Peel from six apples, chopped fine

Mix all ingredients together in a jar and cover tightly. Put in refrigerator for at least a week. Strain before using, pressing liquid from peel.

Apple-infused red wine vinegar

**The smaller you chop the apple, the more flavor it will add. I use a food processor for this, but don’t go too far and end up with a puree, because it’s hard to strain out afterwards and will make your drinks cloudy instead of sparkling clear.

And if you’re curious why this drink is called The Ninth Attachment…

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

For three hundred years, a missing masterpiece is passed from one fortune seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

2 thoughts on “Japanese Home Cooking OCTOBER 2020 Leave a comment

    • I’d love to hear of other things you could do with it! I’m always trying to find ways to make Japanese flavors appealing to Westerners, and if you end up doing something wonderful, I’d be delighted to hear about it ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

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