November 21, 2014 – Anyone who remembers singer Johnny Cash associates Folsom, California with his hit song “Folsom Prison Blues” and, yes, it is the home of a State Prison. But visit Folsom and you’ll find a lovely family community with lots of great outdoor activities and a historic district dating back to Gold Rush days.
Located just off Highway 50 on the way to Lake Tahoe, Folsom is the perfect place to take a break and drop in on Fat’s Asia Bistro. The restaurant is one of four Fat Family Restaurants founded 75 years ago by Frank Fat. In fact Frank Fat’s in downtown Sacramento was a 2013 winner of a James Beard Foundation Award as an American Classic.
Fat’s Asia Bistro is elegant and sophisticated with a very long bar overseen by Rob Newhouse who has been bartending for 13 years, about 10 of them at Fat’s. He created the drink menu but is quick to credit the lots of great input from others. He likens drink creation to being a chef, carefully adding layers of flavor. It comes as no surprise that he likes to cook.
We asked him what he sees trending in the way of spirits. He confirms vodka-based cocktails continue to dominate but gin is really rising, as is bourbon. The wine he turns to for cocktails is Champagne or sparkling used as a topper.
The menu at Fat’s is Asian and American. To meet the challenge of spicy food Rob created Eastern Breeze, a tall refreshing cocktail using Bombay Sapphire East Gin, which differs from regular Bombay Sapphire with the addition of lemongrass and black pepper. The recipe for Eastern Breeze is below.
Rob has some advice for throwing a cocktail party: choose your favorite cocktail recipe and instead of slaving behind the bar, juggling bottles and fumbling for the jigger, buy some big plastic jugs and make the base ahead of time, say the morning of the party, and stow them in the fridge until ready to use.
Take your master recipe and multiply by the number of guests and the number of drinks you expect them to have. Mix your spirits and if using fruit juice, add it to the jug. When it comes time to party, put a little ice in the jug, not too much, then all you have to do is pour the mixed cocktail into glasses filled with ice, add the carbonated beverage such as 7UP, give it a quick swizzle or pop a swizzle stick in the glass and you’re good to go.
A versatile drink that can be served hot or cold is his Candy Apple Cocktail
Simmer 2 parts apple juice to one part cranberry juice on the stove adding 4 or 5 cinnamon sticks. When cool, transfer to jug and add Jameson Irish Whiskey. Remove the cinnamon sticks and use as serving decorations. For a cold drink, pour over ice. For a warm drink, mix with hot tea and serve in a mug.
And what does the master mixologist drink at home? It couldn’t be simpler: citrus flavored vodka, soda water, 7Up and a squeeze of lemon.
1-1/2 ounces Bombay Sapphire East
1/4 ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Put in a shaker (no ice) and add a couple of slices of cucumber and 8-10 black peppercorns. Muddle.
Add three lime wedges and ice. Shake well. Strain over ice into a 12 oz. glass and add tonic. Garnish with peppercorns and cucumber.