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Jul 25, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘Sui Toh’

Drink This Weekend Edition: Asian elements bring cohesion to cocktails at Hiro

Friday, September 9th, 2011

090911_drinkthisweekendMany restaurants and bars have jumped aboard the craft cocktail bandwagon. And while I will be the first to applaud artisanal spirits, house-made infusions, bitters, mixers and fresh – even locally grown – produce, there are times when mixed-drink menus feel disjointed, be it a lack of harmony among cocktails with the food offerings or with the restaurant’s overall concept. Not so at Hiro, the newly opened sushi and izakaya (Japanese tapas) restaurant located at 609 Eastgate Ave., in The Loop, where bar manager Sui Toh does a nice job of unifying the cocktail list through a knowledgeable selection of Asian components.

Think Japanese alcoholic beverages and the first one that comes to mind is saké. At Hiro, patrons have a choice of four different sakés, but the rice wine also makes an appearance in five cocktails. They run from basic, like the 50/50 (equal parts plum wine and saké), to more complex, like the Ginger Phoenix (a mix of saké, Moscato, muddled ginger and simple syrup garnished with a tasty, don’t-waste-it piece of house-made candied ginger).

The use of fruit waters is another notable aspect of the drinks prepared at Hiro. The coconut Mojito calls for coconut water, which keeps the drink light and refreshing, as well as lime juice and a generous amount of fresh mint, which keep it from wandering too far from its inspiration. The Lychee Blossom employs a combination of coconut water and lychee water that’s garnished with skewered lychee fruit, giving imbibers unfamiliar with its gummy ways an up-close-and-personal experience with the tropical Asian fruit.

Toh and owner Bernie Lee clearly understand their customer base (folks with a penchant for commercially made flavored vodkas won’t be disappointed), but they also seem to recognize that, as an Asian eatery, Hiro is in a position to enhance its drinks with Pac Rim elements – and they’re not afraid to do so.

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