February 19, 2015
As a Japanese person, I love to drink. The first time I traveled to the U.S. with my sister, the two of us would always order a bottle of wine during lunch, and then again for dinner. The servers were always amazed; we were usually the only customers to order a full bottle.
I thought Americans didn’t like to drink much as us Japanese people — until I married my Irish-American husband. His family LOVE to drink mighty spirits like tequila, vodka, bourbon — the serious stuff. They would usually have a cocktail before lunch and then again before dinner, then wine with the meal. I think I chose the right man.
Here’s a cocktail recipe and story that we love to tell. My husband’s father and his brothers were relaxing during a fishing trip to Mexico. While anchored in the harbor, it became clear to everyone that the alcohol supply was running low. He started tinkering and created a refreshing but dangerous cocktail with what was available. He served his new creation to his fellow fishermen and they all loved it! One of them loved it so much that he fell off the pier and had to be fished out of the ocean. I suspect the rum had something to do with it.
He named this cocktail “The Smiler” and over the years the balance between various spirits and ingredients have been fine-tuned. There are many great Smiler stories: people falling asleep in the strangest places — under an oak tree, in the ice plant in front of our beach house, sometimes right at the dining table. My husband’s father took great pleasure in showing family and friends a good time and the legend of the Smiler lives on.
We lost our father this last Summer, but every time we stir up some Smilers, he returns to us. This was his test kitchen:
Now I’m sure you want to know whats in this magical drink — there is no secret, and yet so simple and refreshing. And dangerous! The usual dosage is no more than two glasses, but it’s up to you.
1 part of rum
2 parts of vodka
4 parts of fresh squeezed pink grapefruit (strain the pulp)
An Old Fashioned glass
Mix all ingredients well. Pour over lots of ice into the glass.
*Yuki HD is a Tokyo native with deep roots in izakaya-style home cooking. She currently makes her home in the southwestern United States where the foods of many cultures meet and mingle. Kuishinbo means “rigorous eater” in Japanese. Eat up!