“The Kamikaze Queen” is what they used to call me. Not one of my parents’ prouder moments. When I was in my early twenties, I worked as a hostess at a restaurant in the popular Gastown district of Vancouver. This restaurant was the type of place where sweethearts proposed marriage, diners lingered over a fine bottle of wine, and stars came to eat in relative peace. As an aside, I found out that Richard Thomas still answers to, “Hey, John Boy!” During dinner service, we would occasionally experience some lulls as patrons lingered over their cappuccinos. I took it upon myself to disappear behind the bar and mix up a large batch of kamikaze shots. The sound of the cocktail shaker, which contained a mixture of fresh lime juice, vodka, and triple sec, seemed to work like a dog whistle on the serving staff.
Shots lined up on the container, eight or nine of us would duck down behind the counter, toast a quick “Cheers!” and throw back the liquid treat. For those few minutes, there was not a single member of the staff on the restaurant floor. However, we emerged with smiles on our faces, ready to face a few more hours of dinner service. Unbeknownst to the owner, this became a ritual on busy Friday and Saturday evenings.
These tangy, slightly sweet drinks can be made as cocktails, served in high ball or martini glasses, or potent shots. I will warn you – these are not for the faint of heart and it is imperative that you hand your car keys to someone far more responsible before you start to drink them. Over the years, I found that I enjoy these drinks more when I add a splash of simple syrup. One or two of these will do in my progressing years – a mere shadow of the kamikaze queen.
Make a simple syrup by combining equal parts granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan. I typically use 1 cup of each so that I have plenty of simple syrup left over for other uses. It can be stored in a glass container, such as a jar, in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add 1 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice, 1 1/2 ounce vodka, 1 1/2 ounce triple sec, and 3/4 ounce simple syrup.
Shake well, about 20 seconds, to chill the mixture. Strain into a highball or martini glass for a single drink or, if you prefer, into 4 separate shot glasses. Garnish with a wedge of lime and serve cold.
Other beverages using vodka and lime:
Kamikaze Cocktail or Shot
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1 1/2 oz. triple sec
3/4 oz. simple syrup
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add lime juice, vodka, triple sec, and 3/4 oz. simple syrup. Shake well, about 15 seconds, to chill the mixture. Strain into a highball or martini glass for a single drink or, if you prefer, into 4 separate shot glasses. Garnish with a wedge of lime and serve cold.
Makes 1 cocktail or 4 shots.