Ah, the art of rice and water. It’s not just for sushi anymore. I was in the mood for all things Japanese and thoughts turned to Sake, not just warm or cold, but rather Sake in cocktails.
As cocktails are moving to lighter more aperitif style, Sake cocktails are trending in London, NY, LA and other cities outside of Japan. Now, of course, serious Sake creators and drinkers will turn up their noses but cocktail lovers certainly won’t.
Thinking that all Japanese restaurants would, of course, make Sake cocktails turned out to be very wrong headed on my part when I discovered that Azuma Sushi made only two – the, by now, classic Sakitini and the Manhattan East. Azuma Sushi though, doesn’t forget its roots and offers instead cocktails with green tea, yuzu, and lemongrass.
On Mondays, the cocktails are $5. And bless their hearts the nigiri is just .99 and set atop beautifully done rice that’s not too heavy on the vinegar. First up was a Gun-Powder Old Fashioned with your choice of Gin or Bourbon with Silk Road Gunpowder Tea and a lemongrass stir stick, which unfortunately didn’t make it into the glass. I went for the bourbon and afterwards thought gin might have been more appropriate for the food but the words Old Fashioned and gin just seemed so wrong in the moment.
The big, smoky flavour of the gunpowder tea surprisingly didn’t come through as expected.
Next was the Azuma Saketini, a generously proportioned Sake forward cocktail that was refreshing and a lovely food match. I think an olive is an odd choice and would have preferred a lightly pickled onion but, quibbles. I look forward to a return trip, Neo Tokyo Yuzu Sour anyone?