In Bokeh

Emilio Salehi | San Francisco

Riffing on the photographic technique of bokeh—employing a shallow depth of field while the subject remains sharp—bartender Emilio Salehi starts by putting the gin in focus. Candew melon, a cantaloupe-honeydew hybrid, is employed for its soft sweetness, representing a “dreamy background.” Floral and herbal notes from the pink rose bitters and Thai lime complement the fruit, while a shisho falernum highlights nutty, green, peppery flavor profiles in the gin.


Serving: 1

  • 1 1/2 parts Bombay Sapphire gin
  • 1/2 parts candew melon–infused bianco vermouth (see Editor’s Note)
  • 1/4 parts red shiso falernum (see Editor’s Note)
  • 1/4 parts manzanilla sherry
  • 1 barspoon Uchuva eau de vie
  • 4 dashes pink rose bitters (see Editor’s Note)
  • 2 drops saline solution (see Editor’s Note)

Garnish: grapefruit twist, makrut lime leaf–compressed melon cube, micro shiso leaf

  1. Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass and stir well with ice.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass with a large cube.
  3. Express a grapefruit twist over the cocktail. Discard. 
  4. Garnish with makrut lime leaf–compressed melon cube and micro shiso leaf.
Editor's Note

Melon-Makrut Syrup (for compression)
10.6 ounces candew melon, cut into chunks, rind discarded
5.3 ounces 2:1 cane syrup 
0.1 ounce makrut lime leaves

Combine in a blender until smooth and strain. 

Compressed Melon (for vermouth infusion and garnish)
1. Cut 1 whole candew melon into large pieces, removing rind.
2. In a vacuum bag, add melon fruit and melon-makrut syrup until fruit is covered.
3. Compress with vacuum machine.
4. Strain excess liquid.

This compressed melon can also be used for garnishing; simply cut out small cubes and plant micro shiso leaves on top. 

Melon Vermouth
7 ounces of compressed candew melon
3.4 ounces of Martini Bianco Vermouth

1. Combine in a vacuum bag. 
2. Seal and rest in a cool area for 24 hours.
3. Strain out the solids. 

Shiso Falernum
In a glass container, combine 0.35 ounces of torn red shiso leaves with 8.5 ounces of velvet falernum. Seal and allow to infuse for 24 hours in a cool area. Strain and store in a cool place.

Pink Rose Bitters
In a vacuum bag, combine 1 ½ tablespoons of pink rose tea with 10 ounces of Peychaud’s Bitters. Seal and heat sous-vide at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour. 

Saline Solution
Dissolve scant ¼ teaspoon sea salt with 4 teaspoons hot water. 

The Uchuva eau de vie, produced by a company called Guasca, can be purchased from specialty spirit stores.