March 29, 2016

Tokyo sakura trip day 4: fruity cocktails

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Because they arrived a day later than we did, my friends weren't able to join us for sake at my favorite izakaya.  So I decided we should go hit a cocktail bar for some drinks.  I had heard about Bar Gen Yamamoto from a couple of different sources, and its range of fruity cocktails seemed right up the alley for a guy who always orders the fruity and girlie drinks (that would be moi).  The fact that it was a stone's throw away from the restaurant for dinner tonight seemed like a godsend.  Until I found out that the reservation slot immediately before dinner tonight was already taken...

...which was why we found ourselves sitting at the bar at 4 p.m.  Observing as Yamamoto-san made the drinks for our neighbors - who turned out to work for Asahi Shuzo (旭酒造), the makers of Dassai (獺祭).  When all of us were ready, we placed our orders and eagerly awaited for our drinks.  I chose the 6-cocktail set, wanting to taste a little bit more than the 4-cocktail set would offer.

#1: This was made with a citrus fruit called Tsunokaori (津之香) that reaches maturity in March and April.  Base is a shochu called Tsurunashi Genji (蔓無源氏), which uses a type of yam that was revived from 100 years ago.  Sprinkled with basil flowers on top, which added a nice fragrance on top of the citrus.

#2: The base of this drink was Hakushu (白州) Whisky, using apple kiwi from Shizuoka Prefecture, and garnished with some sansho leaves (木の芽).

#3: This was a combination of organic ginger from Kochi Prefecture and organic lemon from Shizuoka Prefecture.  This was rounded on the palate, with nice length and some bite at the end thanks to the ginger.

The base was a shochu named Mugishiru (麦汁) from Toyonagakura (豊永蔵), made from hulless barley.

#4: Made with fruit tomato (フルーツトマト) from Kochi Prefecture and garnished with some mint leaves.  Nice and savory, and the mint is a nice touch.

The base was a barley shochu called Chingu (ちんぐ) from Omoyashuzo (重家酒造) on Iki Island (壱岐).

#5: made with some buntan (文旦) and freshly-grated wasabi.  Base is Reisen Kaseinigori Junmai Ginjo (醴泉 活性にごり 純米吟醸), an unfiltered sparkling sake.  You wouldn't feel it on the first sip, but the wasabi delivers its kick by the end of the third sip...

#6: made with kumquat (金柑) and a shochu called Kinpeibai (金瓶梅), made with the sake lees leftover from making Azumaichi (東一) sake.  Obviously very fragrant thanks to the kumquat.

We found the name of the shochu interesting...

I really liked the range of cocktails Yamamoto-san served us today.  Very creative and interesting.  Would love to come back again on my next trip...

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