A 'Truth And Clarity' Cocktail To Carry Us Into 2020

Dec 31, 2019

As we say goodbye to 2019 and ring in 2020, we're bringing you a new cocktail invented to set the tone in the new year.

Eddie Kim is co-host of the Shift Drink podcast, a traveling drinks consultant for the Highball Committee based out of Washington, D.C., and a bartender at large. To set the tone for 2020, Kim created "Truth and Clarity."

"When I thought about the vibe of 2020 that I wanted, the first two things that came to mind were truth and clarity. A clean slate to start the new year," Kim says.

The drink is light and crisp, with a refreshing lemon taste.

"This is actually one of my favorite drinks, the whisky soda, highball drink," Kim says. "It's my shift drink ... at the end of a long day, you just want something that's kind of easy, pretty simple, something you can clear your mind over."

"Truth and Clarity" can work for just about any occasion in the new year, Kim says. The drink can be made in a large batch and served in a punch bowl or individually in a Collins glass.

Eddie Kim, co-host of the Shift Drink podcast, says a cold glass is key to the cocktail.
Laura Beltrán Villamizar / NPR

Truth & Clarity

1 1/2 oz. Capitoline White Vermouth (or other blanc/white vermouth)

1/2 oz. Suntory Toki Whisky (or other blended Japanese/Scotch whisky)

3 oz. Q Club Soda

3 healthy dashes of Keep Well bitter lemon vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

Chill highball/Collins glass.

Combine ingredients in the glass full of ice. Add club soda and gently stir. Garnish with large lemon peel.

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I am not going to lie. One of my very favorite duties at ALL THINGS CONSIDERED is our annual holiday cocktail chat. Today we are ringing out 2019 and ringing in the New Year with a new cocktail expressly invented to set the tone for 2020. The inventor is self-described bartender-at-large, Eddie Kim, a contender, by the way, for best title ever. He is also co-host of the "Shift Drink" podcast, and he came by our studio to mix me his drink for the New Year, which he has christened Truth and Clarity.

EDDIE KIM: When I thought about the vibe of 2020 that I wanted, the first two things that come to mind were truth and clarity, a clean slate to start the new year. This particular drink, it's going to be crystal clear. I brought some special ice along with me to help facilitate that.

KELLY: You've actually brought huge blocks of ice.

KIM: (Laughter) Yes.

KELLY: You've got a wooden tub set out right here in the studio. I wish you would come every day - blocks of ice, a lemon and...

KIM: Some beautiful ingredients.

KELLY: Yeah.

KIM: A base of this drink is Capitoline blanc vermouth, a white vermouth. It's a low ABV vermouth. You probably know it from Manhattens...


KIM: ...And martinis...

KELLY: ...Alcohol by volume.

KIM: Yes.

KELLY: So not super high-proof.

KIM: A little bit lower in alcohol.


KIM: So we can start off the year maybe not so foggy-headed...

KELLY: (Laughter) Right.

KIM: ...Right off the bat. I also have some Suntory Japanese whisky. So this Japanese whisky.

KELLY: Does it have to be Japanese?

KIM: No, it doesn't. This is a blended whisky. So you can use blended Scotch or even your favorite American whiskey.


KIM: And then I have a little bit of bitter lemon vinegar. A couple dashes of that will help lift up a drink and make it more refreshing.

KELLY: OK. So to recap - whisky, bitter lemon vinegar and vermouth...

KIM: Yes.

KELLY: ...White vermouth.

KIM: Yes, and the all-important club soda.

KELLY: OK. So walk me through it. Let's just start making it.


KELLY: First, Eddie Kim prepped ice to chill the glass. He chipped away at this huge block.

(Laughter) There's shards of ice flying around the studio as you're whacking.

But at home, just feel free to pop your glass in the freezer. However you get it done, he says a cold glass is key. Now, he's turning now to the bottles lined up before us.

KIM: I'll start with the Capitoline blanc vermouth.

KELLY: How much are we putting in here?

KIM: This is an ounce and a half.

KELLY: An ounce and a half.

KIM: And then we have the Suntory Japanese whisky. We're only using a half ounce of this. So that's why it's a lower-alcohol drink. We're not trying to...

KELLY: Yeah, and a very light, golden color of whisky, not a dark one.

KIM: I'll do a couple dashes of this vinegar. And if you don't have that kind of vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar...

KELLY: Oh, really?

KIM: ...Or any other fruit vinegar - whatever you might have around the house.


KIM: And then I'll mix it up just a little bit more.

KELLY: Ice flying across the studio.

KIM: And then we're ready for the soda water.

KELLY: Here we go.


DON HO: (Singing) Tiny bubbles...

KIM: Let's get that all the way to the top. This is probably one of the messier drinks in your studio that you've had.

KELLY: Probably one of the only drinks (laughter) actually in our studio that we've had.

KIM: We have the drink here and then...

KELLY: It's almost clear now.

KIM: Yes.

KELLY: Is that like half alcohol to half club soda? Or what's the ratio we're aiming for here?

KIM: It's going to be about 3 ounces of club soda and then total in alcohol, we're thinking about, like, 2, 2 1/2 ounces. You want to mix it up a little bit. You don't have to stir vigorously. Just do a little bit of lift up and down. That creates a vacuum, a little flow to mix the two ingredients. And then I'm going to garnish it with...

KELLY: Hold on. You've got a lemon and...

KIM: Fresh slough of lemon peel. Make sure you express those oils. Just give a little squeeze on the sides over the top of it.

KELLY: Express the oils.

KIM: Yeah.

KELLY: Explain. You've got the skin facing your drink.

KIM: You have the yellow-side skin facing your drink. You squeeze a little bit. You'll see those oils shoot off.


KIM: And then here we are, just right into the drink.

KELLY: Truth and Clarity. Cheers. Oh, very light.

KIM: Yes.

KELLY: Crisp. I can taste the lemon.

KIM: This is actually one of my favorite drinks, that kind of the whisky-soda, like, highball drink. It's my "Shift Drink," kind of the name of my podcast. So, like, at the end of a long day, you just want something that's kind of easy, pretty simple but something you can just kind of clear your mind over.

KELLY: Does this feel like something you could drink throughout 2020? I mean, it's not a seasonal drink. You could drink this anytime.

KIM: I think so. Yeah, anything with soda water - bubbles go with any occasion.


HO: (Singing) Tiny bubbles...

KELLY: And serve it to a crowd. Make one for yourself.

KIM: You can do both. You can make, like, a large batch of it and serve it in, like, a punch format. But I think in an individual Collins glass, it's pretty stately.

KELLY: It's lovely.

KIM: Thank you.

KELLY: Thank you.

KIM: Appreciate it.

KELLY: What will be on your mind as you're drinking the Truth and Clarity into a new year?

KIM: (Laughter) Well, we'll see as the days come along and weeks of - and hopefully, we'll have many pleasant drinks ahead of us to help us through the rest of the year.

KELLY: The rest of the year. Well here's to a fabulous 2020.

KIM: You, too.

KELLY: Thank you for the very first drink of the year and the last of 2019, Eddie Kim. It has been a pleasure.

KIM: Happy New Year.

KELLY: Happy New Year to you.

Eddie Kim hosts the "Shift Drink" podcast. Cheers out there, everybody.

(SOUNDBITE OF KENICHIRO NISHIHARA'S "OUR SONG") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.