This cocktail is a nod to Finnish and Japanese sauna and bath cultures, beautiful continued traditions that embrace meditation, physical wellness, sociability, and slowness, all things we value more and more these days. Similarly, palo santo proffers purification and cleansing that helps with stress and anxiety. And practically speaking, palo santo is a wood that is extremely fragrant and oil-rich, making the infusion process for this cocktail very quick. What it contributes here is a perfumed, wooded flavor that with the smoke from the mezcal and pine notes of the rosemary recall the scents of a sauna.
Lonna Cocktail - ingredients
1.5 oz infused rice shochu
1 oz mezcal
1 oz sweet vermouth
scant tbsp rosemary syrup
stick of palo santo
To infuse the shochu, submerge a stick of palo santo for about an hour. If you don’t have shochu (or soju) at home, you can easily sub for gin or even vodka. You can infuse just enough for one cocktail or scale up and leave the palo santo in for a bit longer. Feel free to taste after an hour and if you want more of that perfumed flavor, steep longer. When finished, dry out the palo santo stick for future burnings.
To make rosemary syrup, add one cup raw sugar and 1 cup water to a pan. Add 3-4 full sprigs of rosemary and a pinch of salt and heat on med-high (if you have some rosemary lying around that has dried out, that works even better as it has more of that pine quality). bring to a boil, turn down heat and allow to simmer for 5 min. turn off heat and let cool fully, then strain out rosemary.
To prepare the cocktail, chill a ceramic cup in the freezer. In a separate mixing glass, stir all ingredients over ice for 2-3 minutes until chilled and diluted (taste to test). Strain in your chilled cup. Squeeze a grapefruit peel over the top and discard. It’s best enjoyed next to a fire or in a hot bath if you have that luxury.
**Lonna is an island off of Helsinki with nothing but a sauna and its restaurant.