Cha-what? If that's what you're asking yourself, I'm with you. The invention of mixologist Eben Freeman for his subterranean bar, Genuine Liquorette, the cha-chunker is named after this machine, which looks like something out of an advanced woodshop class. The apparatus has a more official title, by the way (it's an arbor press), but cha-chunker is what Freeman calls the device he uses to create his cheeky cocktails of the same name.
Silly nomenclature aside, we think the idea is pretty ingenious — and you don't even need a fancy machine to steal it for your home entertaining.
So, What Exactly Is a Cha-Chunker?
Freeman uses the device to widen the mouth of any canned beverage — Coke, Sprite, tomato juice, cranberry juice, you get the idea — pours a bit out, and then upends a boozy mini into the can. Sometimes there are garnishes, like a wedge of lemon or an olive, or a splash of bitters involved. Otherwise, basically that's it — no drinking vessel required (but don't forget the straw).
The first version Freeman made was a Moscow Mule with ginger beer, vodka, and a squeeze of lime, but he's since expanded his repertoire to include nearly every two- or three-ingredient cocktail you can think of.
Perhaps the best part of the cha-chunker, besides its versatility, is the fact that your beverage gets stronger as you go (unlike most cocktails, which start out stiff and then get watered down as the ice melts).
Ready to give it a try? Here are a few suggestions from Eben — and start stocking up on those minis.
5 Cha-Chunkers to Try
- Mojito: Sprite + Bacardi rum + creme de menthe + mint + lime
- Jamo and Ginga: Ginger ale + Jameson + Angostura bitters + lemon
- Dark 'n' Stormy: Ginger beer + Ron Zacapa + lime
- Bloody Mary: Tomato juice + lemon + Skyy + olives + celery
- Paloma: Grapefruit soda + tequila + grapefruit
What do you think? Will you give the cha-chunker a try at your next summer get-together?