Story by Becky Speere
When challenged by Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi Magazine to design a mushroom cocktail, Jessica Everett, partner and mixologist at Esters Fair Prospect in Wailuku, created the Murder Hornet.
“It’s a Japanese-inspired Bees Knees,” says Everett, referencing the drink made famous in 1921 by the Ritz-Carlton in Paris. “It has a nice balance of sweet, tart, bitter and savory, and the maitake mushrooms don’t overshadow the other flavors.”
Also known as hen-of-the woods, maitake grow bouquet-like at the base of trees and have been used for centuries in Asian medicine. They offer a multitude of health compounds, including vitamin D for healthy bones and beta-glucan to improve heart health, boost immunity and prevent cancer.
The Maitake Honey Syrup mixed with lemon juice and ice water alone makes a great mocktail on a sultry Maui afternoon. But add Japanese Roku gin, with its natural botanicals, and bitters for a kick of savory spice, and you’ll be buzzing all day!
Makes 1 cocktail
- 2 ounces Roku gin
- 1 ounce fresh yuzu juice (or 50/50 lemon/lime juice)
- 3/4 ounce Maitake Honey Syrup (See recipe.)
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- handful ice
- 1 tablespoon each sugar, salt and maitake mushroom powder*
Add ingredients to a shaker cup and shake until syrup is blended. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Mix together garnish ingredients and sift over top of cocktail.
Maitake Honey Syrup
- ½ cup maitake mushrooms**
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups honey
- pinch salt
Add ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Allow to cool then puree and refrigerate overnight. When ready to use, strain through a fine sieve. Have some left over? Add to marinades or salad dressings for variety.
*Look for maitake mushroom powder at Whole Foods in Kahului, or go to ommushrooms.com.
**Buy fresh maitake mushrooms at your local Foodland supermarket.