With restaurants in Los Angeles, New York, and Portland Oregon, James Beard award-winning chef, Andy Ricker, has brought a new appreciation for Thai cuisine to the Pacific Northwest. In the early 2000s the Pok Pok empire introduced a drinking vinegar offering to their menu: a tart, slightly sweet sensation for the soul. We were thrilled to find that Ricker is bottling these vinegars to be enjoyed at home.
Drinking vinegar has been enjoyed as a health practice in cultures around the globe, and while Pok Pok makes no claims to Som having any health benefits, it is damn tasty. Our grocery team stocked the shelves with three varieties this month and we got straight to experimenting. Dilute it with water, add it to a soda, introduce it to your late night cocktails, you really can't go wrong.
Drinking Som with water, either sparkling or flat, calls for a 1:4 ratio (1 part Som to 4 parts water). If you find this to be too intense try it with a 1:6 ratio. Som is also a popular addition to cocktails, here are a few pairing suggestions to get you started. Tamarind Som is an exciting addition to tequila or bourbon, while Pomegranate Som pairs well with vodka or gin. Thai Basil Som is a jack of all trades marrying well with vodka, gin, rum, bourbon....and what else? You tell us.
Eric from our Grocery Department created a version of Ranch Water with Pok Pok's Tamarind Som.
Eric calls this a “casual cocktail”, best after a long bike ride, game of futbol in the park, or heavy weeding session in the garden. Refreshing and not too strong, a great way to start your evening, not end it! (modified from his favorite cocktail - Ranch Water from the Lost Horse Saloon in Marfa, TX).
2 oz Mezcal or Tequila
1 oz Pok Pok Tamarind Som
12 oz Topo Chico (or other sparkling mineral water)
1 pinch of Maldon Sea Salt
Cut a lime in half and run it around the edge of a large jar or glass, dip the rim in salt. Squeeze both halves of the lime into the glass, toss in the rinds.
Add mezcal / tequila, Tamarind Som, and mineral water and swirl it 'round. Add ice cubes and go walk around the barrio with your grown up lemonade.