Yagi Noodles is Newport’s coolest new ramen spot — a pop-up restaurant by Chef Basil Yu, who’s bringing his own creative spin on Asian cuisine to Newport, with a rad menu featuring bowls of freshly prepared whole wheat Japanese ramen noodles in savory broths, Rhode Island-meets-China lobster bao buns and shareable small plates. While the food is fabulous, some might say that the hidden gems of Yagi Noodles are the selection of original spirit-free beverages, developed by owner Kodi Keith, which bring elevated, unique flavors to their beverage program — no alcohol necessary! With quirky monikers like This Sh*t Is Pineapples, made with fresh pineapple juice and black pepper, or Taro Up My Heart, prepared with sweet coconut milk and purple taro root, these concoctions are just as much fun to order as they are to drink! I sat down with Kodi and bartender John Begin to learn a little bit more about what makes a zero proof drink taste 100% awesome, and even got the lowdown on how to create one of their most popular offerings, The Floor Is Guava.
Yagi Noodles’ Five Tips to Create the Perfect Spirit-Free Drink
- Use fresh ingredients & purees: At Yagi Noodles, all of the simple syrups and purees, from ginger to blood orange, are made fresh in house, and you can seriously taste the difference.
- Add some spice … but not too much: John recommends seeding the Fresno peppers used in The Floor Is Guava so that the spice doesn’t overpower the fruity flavors. It’s all about balance!
- If you must use alcohol, get creative: The Floor Is Guava (like all of Yagi Noodles’ spirit-free drinks) would mix well with tequila, Mezcal or vodka.
- Pick a garnish that visually represents the ingredients: This one uses a dried blood orange wheel and edible flowers to kick the Instagram-friendly factor up a notch.
- Mix and match: There’s a complex arrangement of flavors in this drink, so you don’t even need alcohol.
The Floor Is Guava
Recipe Courtesy Kodi Keith, Yagi Noodles
3 small Fresno peppers, seeded and muddled
1 oz yuzu juice
1 1/2 oz ginger simple syrup
1 oz guava puree
2 oz soda water (or spirit of your choice, if you must!)
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and shake well to distribute heat.
Garnish with a dehydrated blood orange wheel and edible flowers.
Serve it up with John’s signature salute: “Cheers!”
Can’t wait to make it at home? No worries! Stop by Yagi Noodles at 580 Thames Street on Sun, Feb 23, for the “Freaky Tiki Spiritfree Drinky” Cocktail Competition! From 6 – 8pm, bartenders will compete to make the best spirit-free beverage, and everyone who attends will get to sample the delish concoctions! Admission is free with Newport Winterfest Bracelet or a non-perishable food donation for the Martin Luther King Center of Newport.