Cherry Blossom Cocktail
This recipe is from a vintage 1952 Japanese pocket-sized recipe book I inherited when the couple we purchased our country house from left it behind the bar. The recipes are printed in both English and Japanese Kanji. The Bartender's Guide to the Best Mixed Drinks, by “Kappa” Kasuga Boeki KK, Tokyo, Japan, and distributed by Charles E. Tuttle Co.
After some sleuthing, I found out Mr. Tuttle was one of the great characters of the international book trade. Stationed in Japan during the occupation, he was a scholar of American and Japanese literature, a successful businessman, and husband to Reiko Chiba, a beautiful woman from the wealthy, Japanese Hokkaido family, who he married right after World War II. Tuttle was also known to be a prodigious drinker and it is written he “was not infrequently tossed out of, and off, bars and restaurants, golf courses and tennis courts, on six continents - unabashedly, and not without some élan.”
My own experience with all things Japanese has been much more artful - though while visiting Japan on numerous business trips, we did enjoy a fair share of spirits – usually sake. Over the years, I toured throughout many beautiful regions in Japan visiting gardens and shrines – the clouds even parted as we traveled past the venerable Mt. Fuji. Later, working at New York’s best botanical gardens, I celebrated the spring season of Hanami, brimming with the ephemeral beauty of the sakura matsuri culture.
1 oz. Cherry Brandy
1 oz. Brandy
¼ Teaspoon Curacao
¼ Teaspoon Lemon Juice
¼ Teaspoon Grenadine
Shake Well with Cracked Ice (sic) and strain into 3 oz. Cocktail Glass
No garnish is noted in the vintage cocktail recipe. Perhaps such accessories so soon after a tragic war were too luxurious and frivolous. In fact the entire Bartender’s Guide offers virtually no garnish suggestion. Today, we use fresh cherry blossoms as garnish.
Wrap a pickled cherry blossom in its own leaf, spear onto a cocktail pick with a cleaned lime rind “knot” at the far end. The cherry blossom and leaf can be eaten.
Cocktail Composition and Food Pairing
Serve with pretty green matcha tea bean cakes and wagashi, the traditional Japanese sweet that is made in a breathtaking variety of decorated confections.
Or make some sakura cookies.
Add simple cotton cocktail napkins.
Decorate the setting with cherry blossoms placed in sake pitchers or the organic stoneware or earthenware vases. Throughout the tablescape, sprinkle pretty pink cherry blossoms -- referred to as “pink snow” and is believed to bring good luck.
Sakura cherry blossoms are one of the best-known symbols of Japan. Sakura are not only beautiful, but they also have a subtle flowery or nutty flavor. Sakura flowers are used as a decoration for sweets or are cooked and served with rice. You can eat the blossoms and the leaves, pickling them in salt and umeboshi vinegar
The sakura leaves have the most intense aroma and are used therefore used as powder or as a whole to enhance the flavor of cookies or Japanese style sweets.
Keeping with the Hanami and cherry blossom viewing seasonal experiences, I just got word from my dear friend, the talented artist and horticulturist, EunYoung Sebazco, KOSAKA Art Curator, that the exquisite restaurant is celebrating the Cherry Blossom Season with Japanese culinary culture.
Please join KOSAKA’s exclusive master sushi chef Yoshihiko Kousaka in a special event on 30th April. The seats are very limited, please reserve your tickets at Eventbrite. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chirashi-sushi-making-tasting-tickets-33729776670
Chef Yoshihiro Kousaka is as an exclusive master sushi chef at KOSAKA will host an exclusive Japanese culinary experience in this Hanami season at KOSAKA.
Photo courtesy: KOSAKA
At the end, the guests will be seated and tasted. Chirashi Sushi will be paired with sakes which is specially selected by KOSAKA sake sommelier.
Photo courtesy of Conor Harrigan
Bittersweet Boba - Created by Pamela Wiznitzer, Seamstress
.5 oz Campari
2.5 oz Strong Brewed Black Tea
1 oz Milk
1 oz Vanilla Syrup
.5 oz Grand Marnier
Campari-infused Tapioca Boba*
Edible Red Glitter for glass rim (Try Disco Dust from NY Cake)
Rim glass with edible red glitter and fill with Campari-infused boba. Shake all ingredients and strain over the boba.
*Campari-infused Tapioca Boba
Purchase plain boba (available online or at specialty grocery stores) and boil for about 30 minutes. Drain boba from pot and let steep in a mixture of 1 cup Campari and 1/3 cup sugar.
Photo courtesy of Montelobos Mezcal
Smoking Rose Paloma - Recipe by Ashley Conway
5 parts Q Drinks Grapefruit Soda
2 parts Montelobos Mezcal
¾ part fresh lime juice
½ part rose simple syrup
For the flower ice: Fill a glass 1/4 the way full with water. Add rose petals. Prop on it’s side in the freezer, making sure it doesn’t spill. Let freeze completely before using. This is an optional step, if you are looking to make a drink ASAP, just add regular ice to the glass. But if you do take the time for this step, it makes one pretty cocktail!
Add all liquid ingredients except Q Drinks Grapefruit Soda into a shaker. Shake well to help dilute the cocktail a bit since the ice in the glass won’t melt as fast. Remove the glass from the freezer. Strain into the glass. Top with the Grapefruit Soda and stir. Garnish with grapefruit slice.
|Photo courtesy of Nolet's|
NOLET’S Silver Basil Smash
2 oz. NOLET'S Silver Gin
12 Fresh Basil Leaves
0.75 oz. Lemon Juice
0.33 oz. Simple Syrup
Perch a homegrown or market-fresh washed basil leaf and lemon wedge. You can insert the basil stem into the wedge or position the stem side down and leave up so that every sip imparts the aromatic, garden-to-glass bliss.
Photo courtesy of Reyka
2 parts Reyka vodka
1 part fresh lime juice
¾ part simple syrup (1:1)
4-6 Mint leaves
Combine all ingredients together in cocktail shaker and double strain and garnish with mint leaves.
Reyka Vodka is an Icelandic born vodka and provides a smooth and crisp base for both complex and simple cocktails.
Photo courtesy of Sailor Jerry
Sailor Jerry Ginger Apple Cooler
1 part Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
½ part ginger syrup
¾ part apple juice
¼ part fresh lemon juice
1 ½ parts Q Club Soda
In empty mixing glass, measure Sailor Jerry. Add ginger syrup, apple juice and fresh lemon juice. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into chilled highball glass and fill with ice. Top with soda water and garnish with candied ginger.
Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is a Caribbean Rum blended with 100% natural spices and flavors.
Photo courtesy of Ancho Reyes
Ancho Verde Margarita
1 part Milagro Silver Tequila
1 part Ancho Reyes Verde
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
1/3 part Agave Nectar
Add all ingredients to a shaker, add ice, shake hard and strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass with half its rim salted. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Photo courtesy Montelobos Mezcal
Dances With the Wolves
2 parts Montelobos Mezcal
1 part Lime juice
¾ part Pineapple gum
2 parts Sparkling water
Dehydrated pineapple slice and hoja santa leaf for garnish
Combine ingredients in a shaker and shake. Strain over fresh ice cubes in a stemless wineglass. Top with soda. Garnish with pineapple slice and hoja santa leaf
Photo courtesy of Drambuie
Drambuie’s Frozen Sangria
3 parts Drambuie
1 ½ parts Q Soda
1 part Triple sec
1 Cup White Wine (Chardonnay is perfect)
1 part OJ
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
1 part Honey
2 cups Frozen Berries
10 Dashes Cherry Bitters
Add all Ingredients to a Blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with skewered berries with basil sprig.
Photo courtesy of Q Soda
Blood Orange Soda by Colleen Jeffers
1 part syrup*
5 parts Q Club Soda
Rub the inside of the glass with whatever herb you have on hand such as mint. Combine ingredient and stir. Finish with a hearty squeeze of fresh lime
*Syrup Recipe: Equal parts squeezed/strained blood orange juice with sugar in a blender. Blend on high just until combined.
Photo courtesy of Hudson Whiskey
New York Manhattan
2 parts Hudson Whiskey Manhattan Rye
¾ part Sweet Vermouth
1 dash each of aromatic and orange bitters
Photo courtesy of Drambuie
¾ parts Monkey Shoulder
¾ part Lemon Juice
3 slices Ginger
Muddle Ginger with Drambuie, then add the other ingredients. Dry shake, then add ice and shake again. Fine strain out the ginger and garnish with Angostura bitters
A riff on the popular Sour and the oft-copied neo-classic Penicillin, Drambuie’s honey & spices complement the silky mouth feel from the egg white.
Rider + National Sawdust
Under-the-radar Williamsburg gem National Sawdust is an artist-led non-profit venue that attracts and fosters emerging talent like violinist and violist Miranda Cuckson and Icelandic quartet The Nordic Affect. Designed by Bureau V, the stunning space shares a building and a mutually supportive relationship with Rider, a contemporary American bistro dishing up globally-inspired cuisine and laid-back sophistication under the helm of James Beard Award-winning Chef Patrick Connolly.
Both a destination eatery and a neighborhood favorite, Rider serves elevated concessions to concertgoers--think duck confit wrapped in chard, fried chicken nuggets with whole grain mustard and griddled mortadella--and stays open late for those hungry for more. Guests are welcome to pop in before or after a show for a dinner off Rider’s dynamic and tightly curated menu, plus a full bar program with cocktails like the Mister Rogers Flavorhood, made with vodka, hibiscus syrup, all-spice dram and lemon.
Dinner at Rider - photo courtesy of Rider
Located in Greenpoint’s land-marked Polonaise building, Brooklyn Bazaar wears an array of hats from weekend flea market, karaoke bar and arcade to comedy stage and live music venue with headliners like Black Marble and Princess Nokia. It’s also home to a busy outpost by well-loved Williamsburg restaurant The Brooklyn Star, so patrons can pair their punk rock and ping pong games with Texas-style Chicken & Waffles, Catfish and Grits or Crispy Brussels Sprouts and wash it all down with a Kelvin Slush Guava Margarita.
Baby’s All Right
Everybody’s favorite indie haunt, Baby’s All Right keeps South Williamsburg energized with frequent live sets by underground favorites like Chairlift and Monogold and themed DJ nights like Drake Night. The venue’s attached restaurant keeps music lovers and barflys well-fed with an eclectic menu full of dishes that crisscross the globe, from The Risky Chicken, a Thai fried chicken and papaya salad, to Swagoo Poutine, a Green-Curry Fried Rice Burrito and a classic mushroom burger.