Further North, A Bitter Melon-Infused Cocktail | Wine Enthusiast
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Further North, A Bitter Melon-Infused Cocktail

Courtesy Andrew Call, Bacchus Bar, Portland, OR

Bitter Melons
Bitter Melons / Getty

At first glance, this is a deceptively simple maple-and-apple drink. But the key ingredient here is saké infused with bitter melon—a gourd some experts say offers beneficial health properties. Put it all together, this is a complex cocktail, as aromas and flavors meld and unfold as the crushed ice melts.

(Call uses Momokawa, an Oregon-made saké, but says any crisp, dry saké will do the trick.)


1½ ounces bitter melon-infused saké (see below)
1 ounce apple cider
¾ ounce Clear Creek apple brandy
¾ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce maple syrup
1 bar spoon Aperol
Lemon twist, for garnish


In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients (except garnish). Shake well. Double-strain into a rocks glass over crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Bitter Melon-Infused Saké

1 bottle dry, crisp saké, like Momokawa
1 bitter melon


Cut the melon lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and pith. Slice into smaller pieces. In a mason jar, combine the saké and melon pieces. Cover and refrigerate 3–4 days. Remove from refrigerator and double strain.

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