Elyse Wanshel
Doraku's bar, located at Lincoln Road near Alton, serves up old favorites with an Asian twist.

Booze Hound - Doraku

I’ve got nine bucks in my pocket, it’s a Wednesday night and I’m on Lincoln Road.

Most people would say I’m screwed -- I mean, what could one possibly get on Lincoln Road for a measly $9? Maybe a Venti-Mocha-Uno-Dos-Triple-Expresso-Vanilla-Lechuga-Ménage- à-trois-Macchiato at one of Lincoln’s three Starbucks. And yeah, I know, I could get three beers at $3 a pop at Zeke’s (625 Lincoln Rd) but, like punk rock, I enjoy it when buzzes hit me fast and hard. So, other than swigging directly from a bottle of Moonshine, only cocktails will do.

Elyse Wanshel
The Watermelon Lychee Martini

Luckily, while walking around the construction monstrosity that has literally overtaken the Lincoln/Alton intersection (from what I’ve gathered, the plan is to build a grandiose entrance to Lincoln Road from Alton -- and construction will continue for the next 18 months) I have a Gabba Gabba Hey! moment when I smell something fishy in the air. And no, it’s not because Lindsay Lohan and her gal pal Samantha Ronson where spotted shopping on Lincoln the day before -- this is a good and fresh smell, luring me, like a Looney Tunes character who just caught a whiff a warm pie cooling on a windowsill, into Doraku's (1100 Lincoln Road, Miami) amber-lit and anime/Buddhist-themed bar.

The bartender, Jeremy, a blondish dude with buzzed hair, a sleeve of tattoos, and a bar full of customers, hands me a menu and I discover four tasty treats for, what else, $9:

Elyse Wanshel
The Doraku Ginger Ale

The Watermelon Lychee Martini: Like a ninja, this signature drink at Doraku -- concocted out of Grey Goose, watermelon liqueur, and lychee puree -- is silent but deadly. It tastes like juice, so naturally you slurp it down and by the time your sucking the last bits of juicy lychee pulp out of the bottom of a small, chunky martini glass, you’re also slurring.

The Asian Mojito: Leave it up to a sushi joint in Miami to serve mojitos, but it works! Made traditionally with an Eastern twist, the Asian Mojito has the usual suspects -- lime, sugar, mint -- but also added to the mix is ginger, put through a food processor and then soaked in Grey Goose Vodka for a few days, creating what Doraku calls “Ginger-infused vodka.” Seems like a fancy way of saying, “ginger marinated in vodka” but, hey, whatever sells.

The Doraku Bloody Mary: Pay close attention, lovers of spice, because Daraku’s Bloody Mary will kick your ass. Like the Asian Mojito, it’s made traditionally with tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, and lime. But take out the vodka and Tabasco and add a huge wad of wasabi and sake. An added bonus to this drink is olives stuffed with wasabi as garnish.

The Doraku Ginger Ale: Doraku makes its own ginger ale out of lemon grass and ginger, which alone, free of booze -- I can’t believe I’m writing this -- is fantastic. Add some of their ginger-infused Vodka and sour mix and you’ve got yourself a drink that not only soothes the stomach but also the recession blues. But be warned, this drink has the same kind of ninja-like affects as the Lychee Watermelon Martini.

Last Call: Go, go, go to Doraku! All three drinks are like warm, homemade, chicken soup – good for the soul and as deserving as teenagers of their own book of badly written poetry and motivational essays.

-- Elyse Wanshel

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