Culture to Culture

Derek Stilmann | Miami

Bartender Derek Stilmann explores his love for fermentation through this gin-based cocktail that’s loosely inspired by a traditional Indian mango lassi. Kefir, a fermentable yogurt, takes on a strong herbal, piney expression when muddled with juniper berries, reflecting one of the primary characteristics of the gin. The pronounced dried fruit of the verjus plays off honey infused with angelica root, a binding agent that connects flavors and suffuses the drink with earthy notes and floral aromatics. Another fermented ingredient, mango kombucha, lends fizzy texture and complex tropical fruit notes.

  • 1 1/2 parts Bombay Sapphire gin
  • 3/4 parts Martini & Rossi Riserva Speciale Ambrato vermouth
  • 3/4 parts kefir yogurt with juniper berries (see Editor’s Note)
  • 1/2 parts Minus 8 verjus 
  • 1/2 parts angelica root honey (see Editor’s Note)
  • 1 1/2 parts mango kombucha (store-bought or homemade)

Garnish: sugar–angelica root powder mixed in 2/3 sugar to 1/3 angelica powder ratio, plus a pinch of salt.

  1. Add all ingredients except the mango kombucha into a shake and fill with ice. Throw seven times from tin to tin to get dilution, chill and aeration.
  2. Pour into stemmed wine glass over a sphere ice cube for minimal dilution and add mango kombucha.
  3. Mix with a spoon slightly, just enough to blend the kombucha with the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Garnish the rim with sugar–angelica root powder blend. 
Editor's Note

Kefir yogurt with juniper berries
1 ½ cups kefir yogurt
Heaping teaspoon dried juniper berries

Muddle the berries into the yogurt, and strain to separate the hard berry matter.

Angelica root honey
4 teaspoons angelica root
1 cup water
2 cups honey

1. Heat the water till just before boiling, and pour over the root.
2. Lightly muddle the root in the hot water.
3. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then strain and mix with honey.