Jeff Lichtenberger and Esther Wetzel love puns, food, and each other.
Lichtenberger is a bartender at Extra Virgin and Wetzel is a server at Farina — so collaborating on cocktails for the Extra Virgin menu is a natural thing.
It’s pretty obvious from a glance at the engaged couple’s recent menu that naming is half the fun: With names like the James T. Kirk and Sweeney Todd, the Rubins, Kase, Rubins, Calamanzi & Bryant, and the I Think There For I Amaretto, the word play is as intoxicating as the beverages.
The duo’s Live Free or Thai Hard cocktail combines their love of puns, Southeast Asian cuisine and the “Die Hard” movie series starring Bruce Willis. The riff on a piña colada combines fresh Thai flavors like lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves with the spiciness of curry powder for the perfect homage to Thai food in a glass.
The drink starts with a fairly neutral spirit —vodka —instead of the traditional rum. The only sweetness comes from the coconut creme. The resulting cocktail is cool and creamy with aromas of basil and curry — sip one while imagining John McClane is coming to your rescue. Yippee ki yay... well, you know the rest.
Live Free or Thai Hard
1 1/2 ounces of lemongrass and Kaffir lime-infused Ketel One vodka
3/4 ounce Goya Cream of Coconut
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 egg white
1 basil leaf
Curry powder, for garnish
Combine the vodka, coconut cream, lemon juice and egg white in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until frothy. Strain over ice and garnish with a basil leaf. Serve with a sprinkle of curry powder.