An Asian Twist on the Cosmopolitan

I’m not too fond of alcoholic beverages these days.  I went through my phase of drinking, clubbing, and partying when I moved away for pharmacy school.  No parents.  No curfews.  Just pure partying.  I had way too much fun.  So much fun, in fact, that my grades slipped to the point where my student status was almost jeopardized a few times.  But that’s all a moot point now 🙂  As much drinking as I did, I never developed tolerance to alcohol.  Bummer.  After two drinks, I’d feel a good buzz.  Three drinks, I was drunk.  Four drinks, my head was spinning and I was too nauseous to move.  So I knew my limit.  But it was the birthday hazings where I couldn’t avoid five or six or more drinks from my friends.  Shot, after shot, after shot.  OMG.  I can still recall the different shots they’d hand me.  Two shots in one hand, while many more were waiting for me.  Oh, the good ol’ days 🙂

So I feel like I really experienced alcohol to the point where I don’t need it or miss it.  I especially don’t miss the “red Asian glow” from the alcohol.  I turn as red as a cherry almost immediately after I start consuming ONE glass of alcohol.  I get flushed, blochy red spots, really hot, a raging headache, and my heart starts to race.  It’s a horrible, horrible feeling.  And no, it’s not because I’m a lightweight.  Actually, contrary to popular belief that Asians are just lightweights when it comes to alcohol, there really is a scientific explanation for all of this.  According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the majority of Asian are deficient in an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase.  This enzyme is partly responsible for breaking up alcohol once it enters the body.  If the liver doesn’t efficiently metabolize or get rid of the alcohol, this produces a rapid buildup of the alcohol byproduct and the results are dramatic.  A fast increase in blood flow to the skin of the face and body causes flushing, rapid heartbeats, decreased blood pressure, headache, nausea and extreme drowsiness are just some examples that can be experienced.

Sorry, I just went off on a huge tangent.  I think the main reason that I don’t drink anymore is because of the Asian glow.  It’s such a horrible feeling that lasts for a few hours after my one drink.  However, with that being said, if and when I do have a drink (which is usually once or twice a year), it’s usually something fruity like a soju cosmopolitan.  For those who are unfamiliar with soju, it is a distilled spirit native to Korea.  The taste is comparable to vodka, but slightly sweeter and less alcohol content, which I’m all for!

Soju Cosmopolitan

1.5 ounces Soju
1 ounce Triple Sec (or Cointreau)
1.5 ounces cranberry juice
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Orange zest twist, garnish (optional)

Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice. Add the soju, triple sec, and cranberry and lime juices. Cover and shake vigorously to combine and chill. Strain the cosmopolitan into a chilled martini glass. Twist the orange zest over the drink and serve.

Makes 1 drink.

Calories per serving: 120