Thanks to bar manager Jon Christiansen, the cocktails at both Monsoon and Ba Bar, in Seattle, tend to have an evocative bent. This drink is named for 13th-century Vietnamese military commander Tran Hung Ðao, and uses lime, fresh herbs, pineapple, and fragrant tea--all as popular in Vietnam as the hero himself.
1 teaspoon loose-leaf oolong tea
1/4 cup sugar
10 to 12 fresh mint leaves
4 to 5 fresh red shiso leaves (optional)
2 tablespoons litchi purée such as Funkin, or 4 canned litchis, whirled well in a blender to yield 2 tbsp.
2 to 3 tbsp. lime juice
1/4 cup aged rum
1/4 cup pineapple juice (preferably fresh)
How to Make It
Make the oolong tea syrup: Bring 1/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan and add tea. Cover and steep 5 minutes. Strain into a cup and then pour in sugar. Stir until it dissolves. Let cool.
Fill two cocktail glasses with ice. Fill a cocktail shaker one-third full of ice, then add 6 to 8 leaves mint and, if available, 3 to 4 shiso leaves. Pour in 2 tbsp. cooled oolong syrup, litchi purée, lime juice, rum, and pineapple juice. Shake vigorously.
Strain into the glasses, tuck a few herb leaves into ice, and serve.