Corina Seligman, my niece, is back again as a guest blogger, offering up some amazing Japanese Inspired Cocktails! I call her my secret Sake goddess!
Here are some of my favorite classic cocktail formulas reimagined using ingredients like Shiso, Japanese beer, Japanese pear, Japanese Whisky, Yuzu, Japanese black honey and Matcha tea.
*If the names of the drinks sound funny it’s because my other signature touch is to name cocktails after songs. Kampai!
Japanese Cocktail Recipes
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REMEMBER THE DJS
2 ozs dark, aged rum (I suggest Zacapa or Flor de Cana)
.75 oz unsweetened strawberry puree, strained
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz Shiso*-infused Orgeat (almond-flavored syrup)
Garnish: Shiso leaf
Put all ingredients together in a tumbler with ice. Shake hard. Double strain and serve on the rocks in a bucket glass (the same as a highball glass.) Garnish with a shiso leaf along the side of the glass.
*Shiso is a Japanese herb in the mint family. You can find this in most Asian supermarkets.
To make Shiso-infused Orgeat– Use a high-quality Orgeat, add 8 fresh shiso leaves per cup and leave covered for 48 hours before removing the leaves.
LIFE ON MARS
1.75 ozs Japanese Whisky (I suggest Mars Iwai)
1 oz fresh lemon juice
.75 oz candied orange peel syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
Coedo Shiro* beer float
Garnish: Orange peel
Put all ingredients together except beer in a tumbler with ice. Shake hard. Strain and pour over a large ice block into a bucket glass. Add beer float. Garnish with an orange peel.
*Coedo Shiro – Coedo is my favorite Japanese beer brand. Shiro, meaning white, is the Japanese version of Hefeweizen.
To make Candied Orange Peel Syrup – Bring 3 cups of sugar and 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add the peels of 2 large oranges and simmer until the peel is very soft, about 45 minutes. Remove orange peels and save the liquid.
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Arigatou Gozaimasu / ありがとうございますいます –Lucy
1.75 ozs Gin (I suggest Nolet’s)
1.25 ozs Japanese pear (nashi) puree
.25 oz lemon juice
2 dashes lemon bitters
Brut Cava (or Prosecco) float
Garnish: Grapefruit peel and freshly grated Nutmeg
Put all ingredients together except Cava in a tumbler with ice. Shake hard. Double strain and pour into a chilled coupe (rounded stemmed cocktail glass) glass. Fill the rest of the glass with a Brut Cava float. Garnish with Grapefruit peel and freshly grated Nutmeg.
To make Japanese Pear puree – Peel and quarter pear. Gently cook in saucepan with two parts water, one part sugar, covered until soft, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly, then blend until smooth.
2 ozs Japanese Whisky (I suggest Nikka Coffey Grain)
.75 oz Yuzu juice*
1 oz Kuromitsu**
Garnish: Shiso leaf
*Yuzu is a traditional aromatic Japanese citrus. While distinct from other citrus fruit, it’s somewhat akin to a cross between grapefruit and tangerine.
**Kuromitsu is a Japanese sugar syrup, literally “black honey.” It is similar to molasses, but thinner and milder.
Put all ingredients together in a tumbler with ice. Shake hard. Strain and serve on the rocks in a bucket glass. Garnish with a shiso leaf along the side of the glass.
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2 ozs Matcha*-infused Vodka (I suggest Hanger One)
.75 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
.75 oz simple syrup
1 egg white from a small to medium egg
*Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed Japanese green tea leaves.
Garnish: Candied Ginger
Put all ingredients except egg white together in a tumbler with ice. Shake hard. Strain out the ice, add egg white and one single ice cube to “dry shake” until frothy. Double strain and serve in a coup glass. Garnish with a piece of candied ginger.
Make Matcha-infused Vodka:
Mix 1 teaspoon of matcha powder with 8 ozs vodka in a mason jar, shake vigorously. Let sit overnight or longer for desired strength. Then strain through a cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove tea particles.
Corina Seligman has been in the hospitality industry for 17 years working behind every kind of bar possible between the Bay Area and New York City. In 2014 she found her passion in sake when she worked at Ozumo Oakland, which housed the largest sake selection in the East Bay. Eventually she was promoted to bar and hospitality manager and continued to deepen her knowledge under the supervision of the company’s director of sake. This experience brought her to the attention of Empire Merchants liquor distributors in New York City where she was hired as the company’s first and only sake specialist where she worked exclusively with the Joto Sake portfolio for a year. Her passion is in sharing her love for sake and Japanese cocktail ingredients with American consumers, showing that they can be enjoyed with all types of cuisine and in a variety of settings. She has been bartending for almost two decades now and have probably created at least 100 original cocktail recipes. Given her background as a sake specialist and experience with Japanese cuisine, the most fun she has had behind the bar is when she uses Japanese ingredients.