The latest healthy imbibing trend comes straight from the leaves of a prickly plant so many keep on a window sill for kitchen mishaps and post-sun relief. Aloe vera juice, by itself or infused into a spirit, is not only good for your skin, it’s also said to possess digestive-, liver- and immunity-boosting benefits. Whether or not those claims are accurate, aloe juice is an intriguing cocktail element, which Karol Ansaldi, the corporate bar manager for Groot Hospitality, puts to good use in his vodka cocktail the Golden Geisha.
At Groot Hospitality bar Komodo in Miami Beach, the team makes their own aloe vera cordial—but for home bartending, it’s easiest to buy a bottle of aloe vera juice, either in stores or online. Aloe’s bitterness is best offset with strong fruity flavors like grapes, berries or citrus, Ansaldi believes, so the Golden Geisha includes a handful of fresh raspberries, as well as apple juice for additional sweetness. The aloe vera juice and lemon juice give this cocktail a deep flavor with a hint of sourness. “Considering the aloe’s healing properties, it’s supposed to represent a geisha entertaining and taking care of her guests,” Ansaldi says.
Though Ansaldi uses Grey Goose vodka for his recipe, feel free to use a more affordable bottle, if you prefer. A vodka like Reyka, Tito’s or even Absolut will work well. Similarly, while it brings a fun touch of class to the cocktail, edible gold doesn’t add much in terms of flavor; omit it if you don’t want to splurge on the garnish, but keep in mind that the drink will be less glamorous and won’t live up to the name quite as well.
- 1 1/2 ounces Grey Goose vodka
- 2/3 ounce aloe vera juice
- 2/3 ounce apple juice
- 1/3 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 8 raspberries
- Garnish: gold flakes
Add the vodka, aloe vera juice, apple juice, lemon juice and raspberries into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with the gold flakes.