Unless there is a special request, I rarely create new cocktails from liquor brands. There are several reasons, but I think the most important one is "not at that stage yet".
I think that my job is not to make the ultimate glass, but to expand the possibility of cocktails by attacking the parts that no one has challenged yet. So I think I should make cocktails of 80% completeness where it was undeveloped. I think it's enough.
Beyond 80 %, it's a game to focus on liquor brand, the origin and quality of the ingredients, and well. It's not my job! I hope someone else will do that. I'm going to pass them and go next.
Even in these recipe, I basically choice Wilkinson Gin 47.5° to things to infuse something and transferring the taste to gin. But also I recommend another gin brands, for the case that you would not like to make infused gin. But I have not tried all, so please refer to it.
→ See the types of gin
It has a neutral taste, a weak citrus feeling, a strong root sweetness, and a high alcohol content, so I think it is very easy to use for infused. And it is also not expensive. So for the time being, I often try to make a prototype with this gin and might change it to another gin after complete prototype.
That's why, I used this gin for infusing in this recipe, but please try replacing it with another gin by yourself.
・Mugi shochu / Muichibutsu
Aged for 5 years in barley shochu, vacuum distillation + sherry barrels from Iki-no-kura brewery in Nagasaki Prefecture
The slightly sweet and fragrant nuances of barley remain, but it has a smooth aftertaste. So it is easy to use because it blends well with other ingredients when made into a cocktail.
I tried various barley shochu for cocktails, so I really want to recommend Muichibutsu , and also "Keikoutonarumo".
"Keikoutonarumo" is distilled at atmospheric pressure + aged for 3 years, so this one has much more powerful barley taste. I used it when I want to give a stronger feeling of barley shochu to cocktail than Muichibutsu.
・Kome shochu / Mushagaeshi 35°
From Jufuku Distillery in Fukuoka Prefecture . Atmospheric distillation.
The taste is like an umami bomb. There is an image that kome shochu is light and smooth, but this is shochu that can give out a unique character. However, it blends well with other ingredients. Sometime strong umami may backfire, but, for me, it is still one of the best kome shochu in the world.
There is also a higher alcohol of 43 degrees, so if you want to use it as a substitute for spirits to make classic cocktail, this is also recommended
・Imo shochu / Yasuda
From Kagoshima Prefecture, Kokubun Distillery.
It is a rare imo shochu made with imo koji. It has a fragrant nuance like roses and muscat. Recently, floral types of sweet imo shochu is increasing, but Yasuda has the best balance.
They release it only once a year (around October), so I stock up every year.
If you don't find it, "Puu" from Tasaki Distillery is also recommended.
It is a Mexican distilled liquor at the source of tequila called "Mother of Tequila". I wonder if it has become popular a bit in Japan. It seems that the boom has been coming in America for some time. Tequila is made from only blue agave, but mezcal is made from 52 types of agave. And also producing area of mezcal is wider than that of tequila. The manufacturing method is also different. I think that "Herbal & Smoky" is a characteristic of Mezcal.
Personally, "Mezcal + Imo Shochu" is quite interesting and I try various cocktails with them.I always have "Derrumbes Oaxaca". It is easy to use because it has a good balance of smoky and the price is not expensive.
It is an Italian herbal liquor with a sweet anise aroma and a deep purple-like black color. Normal sambuca is colorless and transparent, and there are various brands, and it is a popular liqueur in Italy, but black sambuca is a variant and there are not many brands.
It is made by infusing herbs such as anise and elderflower into spirits made by distilling beets. The characteristic color is from Elderberry. Personally, it has a stronger citrus feeling and is easier to drink than normal sambuca, so it is one of my favorite curls for a long time.
・Lactic fermented tea
It is a tea made by picking tea leaves, heat-treating it once to stop fermentation, kneading the tea, and then fermenting it again.
Typical examples are Awaban-cha from Tokushima, Goishi-cha from Kochi, and black tea from China (Pu'er tea is also a member of this group).
Awaban-cha is fermented with lactic acid bacteria, Goishicha is fermented with mold + lactic acid bacteria, and black tea is fermented with Koji (aspergillus). They have a unique acidity and aroma due to fermentation. Even if it is extracted into alcohol or syrup, these characters aren't weakened , so I think it will be useful as a cocktail ingredient.
・Kyo Ban-cha (Roasted green tea)
Kyobancha is made in Kyoto and very popular in Kyoto, but is not popular in other prefectures. Bancha is also completely different depending on the region, so it is difficult to understand. Kyobancha is a smoky tea that is roasted without kneading, and it feels like a member of Hojicha. There are various types of hojicha, so it's a little complicated, but most of the hojicha is kneaded using sprouts. On the other hand, Kyobancha is often used not only leaves and also branches, and is roasted without kneading.
There are various personalities depending on the maker, but personally I choose the one that is more smoky and less sour than hojicha and use it properly.
Tencha is a tea leaf before powdered matcha.
The difference from gyokuro is that after picking the leaves and heating them, "do not knead the tea leaves". It has a sweetness like gyokuro, but it has less umami than gyokuro, so it is easy to drink even for those who are not familiar with strang umami of tea, and it is also delicious to eat as it is.
It is a kind of tea that is hard to find on the market, but it is a tea leaf that I want you to experience at least once.
Also, "Amehojicha", a tea made by roasting Tencha, is made by Kirokuen, a tea garden at Waduka that is particular about organic cultivation and single origin, so please try it.
Spicebush is the type of tree and mainly use branches. Since it has an antibacterial effect, it is often used for toothpicks and confectionery picks, and is also often used as a Chinese medicine.
It has a woody, spicy and refreshing scent, so it's very good ingredients to use for cocktails..
It can be boiled in hot water and drunk as herbal tea, and it is now attracting attention as a material for gin. The representative is "Kanomori" made by Yomeishu Brewery.
In Japan, It's usually mixed white rice and cooked. There are various types and numbers of cereals used by manufacturers, so please use the one you like (I usually use 16 kinds grain mixed).
I think it is quite popular in Japan, but it seems that it is not so popular overseas, so to give a brief explanation.
In Japan, rice is the main grain, so other grains are collectively called "Multi-grain". Multi- grain is including rice other than white rice such as black rice and millet, barnyard millet, wheat, beans, sesame seeds, corn, etc.
・Sea bream ara
If you can get only ara at a fish shop, you can use it.
If you use roasted as a pretreatment, you can get a slightly fragrant, smoky nuance. And if you use hot water as a pretreatment, you will get a more neutral nuance.
Please note that if you simmer the ara for too long, it will turn solid like using gelatin when it cooled.
I also posted a recipe for boiling mackerel in water, but canned mackerel is also delicious enough. For canned foods, it is best if there is no salt in it.
The milt is the testis of a fish. I really admire that human have challenged for eating everything ..
It tastes not very fishy and is soft, creamy and rich.
In Japan, milt of blowfish, cod, anglerfish, and salmone are popular and are eaten by various cooking methods such as law, soup, grilled food, tempura, and pot.
The Shirako-zake is a twist cocktail of what was originally served at Japanese restaurants in winter season. Japanese restaurants often use blowfish milt for Shirako-zake, but the taste is very light and pale. So I often use cod milt, it tastes richer than blowfish one.
Katsuo dashi is the most popular soup stock in Japanese. It is made from combination of Inosinic acid in dried bonito and glutamic acid in kelp. But if you use it for cocktails, the smell of kelp was a little too fishy. So I used green tea leaves that also have the same glutamic acid as kelp to make Katsuo dashi.
I think that Gyokuro has too much umami and sweetness, so I use high-ranked Sencha what has less bitterness. It is the best balance. I haven't tried it yet, but I think Kabusecha and organic Gyokuro are also fine.
I think it is also nice to blend not only bonito flakes but also tuna flakes.
The dried bonito flakes should be the one without the blood and have elegant flavor, called "Honkarebushi". I usually use the one from the Utsubo Katsuobushi store in Osaka.
Kombu dashi is Japanese soup stock made from kelp.
I think there are many ways to get Kombu dashi. But since we use it in cocktails, we try to make the soup stock so that it doesn't fishy smell and sticky. But if you want more simply method, please just infuse with water while a night. it is also delicious enough.
We use Rishiri kelp because it has an elegant aroma and a sharp taste, but I think you can use other types if you like.
Sansho tea is Korean traditional tea, and I made this shrub inspired by it.
It's difficult to use both sansho and vinegar directly to cocktail because they have pungently tastes. But it's milder if you soak it in honey.
Originally a Mexican fermented beverage made by lactic acid fermentation of pineapple peel. In Mexico, it seems that they are put in a large jar and buried in the ground. Personally, I prefer tepache to regular pineapple juice, and I've been experimenting with it because it has great applications. You can soak spices together, make it from other fruit skins. We usually throw away the fruit skins. So if we can make juice with it, and if it's super delicious, it is gift.
Since the enzyme of pineapple skin is strong, it is recommended for beginners of fermentation. It is unlikely to fail even if fermentation is done at room temperature.
When using fruit peels, you need to be careful about pesticides. Pineapples are okay because they have almost no pesticide residues, but some fruits should be pesticide-free.
・Tepache of Japanese mandarin
A skin version of Tepache japanese mandarin orange. Please use organically grown oranges
・Two-stage soy sauce
We have to be careful of salty taste when we make cocktails. So I try various type of soy sauce. Among them, I came across soy sauce called "re-prepared soy sauce" and "two-stage prepared soy sauce". It is a soy sauce that is made with twice as much effort and ingredients as it. It is said to "make soy sauce with soy sauce".
I'm using Sawai Shoyu's twice-aged soy sauce from Kyoto. I think that the two-stage preparation is suitable for cocktails because it has a milder salty taste and stronger umami. However, I will continue to try finding better one.
→Purchase Re-prepared soy sauce (Amazon)
Hom-mirin is an excellent alternative to sweet sherry and sweet vermouth.
There are various brands in Japan, but for me, "Kakutani Bunjiro Shoten Organic Sanshu Mirin" is in the regular position.
There is another type of mirin from same brand, but it is not organic. Please be careful because the taste is quite different.
I also drank the black mirin. It has a deep taste like Shaoxing wine, and I would like to use it to cocktails next time.
Ponzu is made from soy sauce, citrus juice (normally yuzu juice), dry bonito, kelp, and mirin.
Since it is used for cocktails, it should be mildly salty and have a strong acidity. At nokishita, we use re-prepared soy sauce and prepare a little more citrus than usual. As for the type of citrus, I have posted a recipe prepared only with yuzu, but it is okay to blend other citrus. If you use a commercially available Ponzu, you can use one that contains brewed vinegar, or add a little more citrus juice to a commercially available bottle.
I used to use Ponzu from Baji village in Kochi. In addition to the green caps sold at supermarkets, there was a red cap that used more citrus fruits. It was marvelous.
・Kome Koji (Aspergillus oryzae / rice jiuqu)
We use kome koji to make koji water and salted koji, and use it for fermentation.
We freeze raw kome koji, but the dry type seems to be easier to obtain and easier to use.
・Ikkyuji Natto / Daitokuji Natto
They are also called dried natto made at Ikkyuji and Daitokuji in Kyoto. It feels like a Chinese Douchi companion. It's like a bomb full of umami and sourness, you can eat it as it is, or you can use it as a seasoning.
Daitokuji natto is exposed to the sun for two months, but Ikkyuji natto continues to do so for a year. So Ikkyuji natto has a stronger taste. Which one is better is a matter of taste. We use Ikkyuji natto, but it is rarely distributed except to buy it directly at Ikkyuji, so if you can't get it, please use Daitokuji natto.
Kneaded miso is miso made by adding mirin, sugar, sake, egg yolk, and other seasonings and condiments to miso and cooking. Dengaku miso is the most popular kneaded miso.
I've found and tried to make various kneaded miso. But my current favorite is "Toryu Miso" by Ryuhei Soba shop from Katsura, Kyoto.
This sweet and spicy kneaded miso is made by carp, green pepper, and Japanese pepper into miso.
Next time, I'm thinking of making it by my hand, so I'll upload the recipe soon.
・Palatinit (sugar for candy work)
For a while after I saw him making candy at a festival in my city when I was kid. I said, "My dream is a candy maker! ".
After I started working at a restaurant, I tried to make candy by various way such as melting sugar and adding starch syrup, but it was quite difficult to make candy.
However, one day I discovered this palatinit and was shocked by its ease of use.
It is easy to make candy and not easy to melt. Please use it for cocktail decoration.
But I just wrote that it is for candy decoration, but it is not suitable for candy work like Japanese traditional way. Palatinit hardens too quickly and is not suitable for time-consuming work unless it is properly warmed with a candy lamp. If you want to make candy like that without a lamp, you can mix sugar, starch syrup, and cornstarch.
Neri-kiri is a type of Japanese sweets, and is a representative of namagashi with a wide variety of colors and shapes lined up in the showcases of Japanese sweets shops. Neri-kiri dough is made by combining white bean paste with a binder, and the binder is usually fertilizer or potato. There are various ways to make it, and the simple one is easy. But I found something called "neri-kiri ko" and it was very easy, so I put a recipe using it.
If you combine Neri-kiri ko with juice pomace and knead it, you can make Japanese sweets. So it is a very useful item for me, because I wants to use up the ingredients without waste.
Ma-gao is Taiwanese traditional pepper. Taiwanese indigenous people have used it for a long time. It features a spiciness like black pepper and a scent like lemongrass.
Mr. Perry from Bar Ginspiration at Taipei gave me this pepper as a souvenir when he came to our bar. Please try it because it is a topical spice that is starting to attract attention worldwide.