Nilsson Schmillson

Nilsson Schmillson cocktail with navy-strength gin, sake, lime juice, vanilla syrup, coconut milk, and cream of coconut.

The Nilsson Schmillson is the creation of master mixologist Jeremy Oertel, of Brooklyn’s Hidden Pearl bar. It’s a curious thing, with its unusual ingredients, but so very lovely – the coconut cream and sake work together to create a gorgeous texture and a beautiful pearly color befitting the name of Oertel’s bar.

The original recipe for the Nilsson Schmillson, as printed in PUNCH, calls for coconut cream. But the recipe’s notes clarify that it’s not a true coconut cream (which is typically unsweetened, and quite thick) – rather, it’s a mix of coconut milk and cream of coconut (a much sweeter product). We’ve done our best to replicate that mixture in a single-serving recipe, but you may wish to play with the ratio of milk to cream to get it just how you like it.

Oertel uses a homemade vanilla syrup. We tried the recipe with an off-the-shelf syrup, and found it just a tad too sweet and vanilla-dominant. We now make it with a very scant measure of vanilla syrup; you may need to experiment to find your ideal proportions. The original recipe also calls for Navy-strength gin; if you use regular-proof gin you can expect the drink to be a bit sweeter overall.

Despite all the tinkering required, the Nilsson Schmillson is a worthy drink, and a rare example of how sake can be used to soften and flavor a drink with a stronger spirit as the backbone.

Ingredients

Instructions

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a short glass or wine glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with lime or lemon zest, and toasted coconut if you’ve got it. Make sure that the crushed ice is mounded up above the liquid in the glass, so that the majority of your garnish sticks to the ice rather than floating around in the drink.

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