When Sama Sama opened in the space once occupied by East, we here at DOTW wondered what happened to the precious liquor license that came attached to the place. Would Sama Sama make the bar separate, like East tried to do, or would they incorporate it into the fresh, locally sourced aesthetic of this Indonesian restaurant? Well, it’s the latter, and to make these drinks on their new cocktail menu work, they invited bartender Adam Hopkins (formerly of Whiskey Richards) and Jesse Keenan (currently of Elsie’s) to get together over a long weekend and bring some southeast Asian flair to things.
To be honest, we wanted to try nearly everything on the menu, but we had to whittle it down to three. Sama Sama’s namesake cocktail starts with Benchmark bourbon and adds jasmine sweet tea (made on the premises), lemon juice and lemon basil leaves. The result is so light that it’s hard to believe there’s bourbon in it. So maybe this is good for anyone easing themselves slowly into whiskey. (We’re already in the pool and the water’s fine.)
The Mule Kick is the bartenders’ version of a Moscow Mule. (Can we point out that this looks to be the year of the Mule and its variations?) Two kinds of vodka are used: a Thai chili-infused one and a ginger-infused vodka. This then gets mixed with Reed’s ginger beer. The kick is indeed strong on this one.
But for Drink of the Week, we settled on the Zeppelin, a mix of potato vodka, cava sparkling wine, elderflower liqueur and grapefruit bitters. A very complex, mature cocktail, this is that little bit o’ samasama you need.
1 ounce potato vodka (preferably Boyd & Blair)
2 dashes grapefruit bitters (preferably Fee’s)
1 ounce elderflower liqueur (preferably Thatcher’s)
Cava sparkling wine, to top
Lemon rind, for rim
Shake vodka, bitters and elderflower over ice. Strain mixture into glass, top with cava and garnish with lemon. Yield: 1 drink