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Grand Tour

by James O. Fraioli
Sea Fare Photo by Jonathan Chovancek
Photo by Jonathan Chovancek

Inspired by the 1860s-era Daisy cocktail crafted with spirits, orange, and sour, this glamorous sipper hails from the Bamboo Bar in Bangkok, Thailand. The iconic bar opened in 1940 and is situated inside the elegant and historic Mandarin Oriental Hotel. If you’ve never been there, the landmark property is perched on the edge of the scenic Chao Phraya River that flows through the heart of Bangkok and offers convenient boat transportation and sightseeing cruises since many of the major city attractions are easily accessible from various points along this waterway. Strolling through the beloved hotel and into the seductive bar evokes a feeling of stepping back in time, as many famous writers have enjoyed a drink at this jazzy sanctuary, including Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene. Today, the Bamboo Bar and their inspirational mixology team are best known for their exotic cocktails and use of offbeat and fascinating ingredients, like passion fruit powder. The deliciously invigorating sweet and sour flavor from the passion fruit is the secret to this marvelous cocktail—one that truly captures the essence of Thailand, but is still accessible to the Northwest as the powder is readily available to order online. This stunner, fit for a sunny September evening, is featured in my forthcoming book: A Bartender’s Guide to the World: Cocktails and Stories from 75 Places (Appetite-Random House Publishing), which I had the pleasure of assembling with notable bartender Lauren Mote.


Makes 1 cocktail

Freeze-dried passion fruit powder

1½ ounces premium vodka

½ ounce coconut liqueur

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

1 ounce Vanilla Syrup, recipe follows

2 dashes chocolate bitters

1 egg white*

Garnish: 4 drops aromatic bitters

Dust the outside of a frozen coupe glass with the passion fruit powder and set aside. In a cocktail shaker, add the vodka, coconut liqueur, lemon juice, Vanilla Syrup, chocolate bitters, and egg white. Dry shake (without ice) for about 5 seconds to emulsify the ingredients. Add some ice and shake again for about 5 seconds. Using a small fine-mesh bar sieve to catch the loose ice chips, double strain into the prepared glass. For the garnish, add the aromatic bitters drops on top in a decorative pattern. Then, using a toothpick, drag each drop to the center, and serve.

*Note: If you are concerned about food safety of raw eggs, use 1-ounce pasteurized liquid egg whites in place of the egg white.

Vanilla Syrup

Makes about 2 cups

¾ cup (about 7 ounces), filtered water

1¼ cups granulated sugar
½ vanilla bean

Boil the filtered water and set aside. In a separate bowl, add the sugar and then whisk in the hot water until the sugar is dissolved. Split half of a vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla seeds to a heatproof, food-safe bag and top with the sugar water. Remove the air from the bag, seal, and clip it to the side of a pot, ensuring the mixture is underwater. Simmer on low heat for 1-1⁄2 hours. Transfer the bag to an ice bath. When cool, strain the liquid into a sanitized bottle, label with the date, and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

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