EAST MEETS WEST!
We’re seeing a very welcome Asian invasion of exotic ingredients in cocktails at the moment – in London especially there are a host of places to get libations with oriental influences. We round up some of the best.
Ippudo are famous the world over for their delicious ramen, but it seems they have another string to their bow – they’ve also got a rather divine selection of cocktails. Sake and Japanese Whisky make for rather excellent libation, and this is evident in the Hakushu Sawa – an exciting twist on a whisky sour. Made with Hakushu Japanese whisky, lemon juice, angostura bitters and egg white, it’s smooth, silky, has that citrus edge and delicious pep from the whisky. And now another Ippudo is due to open in Canary Wharf very soon, there will be even more chance to have a cheeky tipple with your noodles.
Enjoy with: The Shiromaru Hakata Classic Ramen – it’s a huge bowl of hearty awesomeness, complete with noodles, pork, veggies and a rich, meaty broth.
Nozomi restaurant in Knightsbridge is a sleek, chic and altogether rather stunning place to visit for either food or drinks – they serve some of the best sushi around and their zen-inspired bar is the perfect place to recline and enjoy a tipple or two. Scanning their menu is sure to make your mouth water – and one of our favourites has to be the Fig Sour. Made from fig and cranberry juice, this delicacy also includes Nozomi Infuse Caramel and ginger sake, as well as Hibiscus Syrup and Chival Regal Whisky. It coats the tongue like a soft caress, and whisks you away to far more exotic climes. For a taste of the orient, you can do no better.
Enjoy with: The tantalising treats of sashimi that the chefs at Nozomi prepare with deft ease. They’re well practised in the art of sushi – and the saying ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ doesn’t even cover it.
In celebration of the cherry blossom season of Japan, top-notch sushi restaurant Sake No Hana have created this rather delightful and beautiful two-part cocktail that represents the gradual progress of spring. Risshun signifies the start of Spring in the Japanese calendar, and the first element of the drink is a carafe containing Jinzu Gin, green chartreuse, grapefruit and lemon juice, shiso syrup and Burlesque bitters. Pour into the miniature martini glass and enjoy the fragrant, citrus taste on your palate – then, when this is done, finish with the little jug containing a blushing pink concoction of Belsazar rose vermouth, maraschino cherry, cranberry and lemon juice. The sweet, full-blossomed flavour completely awakens your taste-buds. Part of the fun is feeling like an alchemist and mixing it yourself.
Enjoy with: The limited edition Sakura menu, available until the 20th June. This includes delicate white miso soup, delicious sesame-soaked seaweed, a bento box packed with the finest cuts of sushi, and an indulgent cherry cheesecake.
Dazzling french style meets the exotic East in a stunning and sumptuous new cocktail from our favourite orange tipple, Cointreau. To celebrate the fact the this iconic French liqueur will be the category sponsor of the British Solo Artist award at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards 2015, they have created a libation that brings the luxury of salted caramel and the delicacy of green tea together in perfect harmony. This rather chic concoction also includes the flavours of passion fruit puree, lemongrass & ginger cordial and lemon juice, and is accompanied by dark rum and irresistibly indulgent notes of salted caramel green tea for a drink as dizzyingly sensuous as a Japanese lily garden at nightfall.
Enjoy with: Dainty sugary nibbles such macaroons. In fact, why not hold your own drinks party and invite friends round to sample this chic cocktail? We can reveal the recipe right here:
40 ml Cointreau 20 ml dark rum 10 ml Lemon juice 10 ml Lemongrass and ginger cordial 20 ml Passion fruit puree 15 ml Salted caramel green tea
Method: Add all ingredients to a Boston shaker. Shake and strain straight up into a glass, top with a foam of salty caramel green tea and sprinkle with dehydrated orange peel.
And if you want something a little different from cocktails…
Head to one of our new favourite East London hangouts, Beer and Buns, a pop-up on Appold Street above K10 Sushi Bar. Bringing the authentic charm of a Japanese Izakaya (a drinking den where tasty snacks are also served, in a relaxed environment), then this uber-cool establishment serves the largest selection of Japanese Beers in the UK. The bar guys know their stuff and are happy to advise, while the menu holds some really great tasting notes. We loved the Hitachino Nest ‘Owl’ beers, as well as the Coedo ‘Shiro’, with its hints of banana.
Enjoy with: The absolutely banging jumbo chicken wings that they serve – nuclear-red, ridiculously sticky, and an absolute taste sensation. Choose from Tebasake Soy Garlic, Sweet & Spicy, or sesame-studded Korean Hot.