‘Lost in Laos’ with Matt Biancaniello

Inspired by the flavors of the coconut milk-based tom kha gai soup, this cocktail is infused with fresh lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, turmeric and Thai basil leaves.

It was the summer of 2008 and Los Angeles was at the dawn of the craft cocktail movement. In the small dark Library Bar of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, a new bartender named Matthew Biancaniello leaned over to a coworker and whispered, “What’s in a cosmopolitan?”

That anecdote seems completely implausible to me since now Matt forages and scours farmers’ markets all over the world to source 15-ingredient Bloody Marys and cocktail concoctions that feature uni and emu eggs. His favorite recipes are compiled in a new book, “Eat Your Drink: Culinary Cocktails.”

This drink “Lost in Laos” was the first time I really understood how the talents in the craft cocktail movement were exploring flavor in a glass.


2000 Lost In Laos Drink (c) Mia Wasilevich
“Lost in Laos.” (All photos by Mia Wasilevich)

From “Eat Your Drink: Culinary Cocktails” by Matthew Biancaniello. Copyright © 2016 by Matthew Biancaniello. Reprinted by permission of Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.