You’d think there’d be saki in here, or maybe a little fish oil or sushi. In fact, the name has nothing to do with the ingredients. Rather, legend has it that a member of the first Japanese diplomatic mission to the United States in 1860 was so popular at a local bar in New York that the bartender named a cocktail after him.
The Japanese is a brandy based cocktail sweetened with Orgeat. This syrup has been around, in different forms, since the 1300s and started making an appearance in cocktails in the mid 18th century. Orgeat is made of almonds and rose water, sometimes with the addition of a hint of orange blossom.
Orgeat was still a bit of an oddity until the appearance of tiki drinks in the 1940s. These were the first cocktails to feature little umbrellas, and were largely very sweet, fruity drinks. People were coming out of the great depression and as they couldn’t yet afford to travel to the islands, bar tenders brought the taste of a summer escape to them. Orgeat is a staple in all tiki drinks, and is integral to the unique taste of a Mai Tai.
Pair your Japanese Cocktail with a small dish of salted sesame seeds. The combination of flavours is magic.
Here’s the recipe for a classic Japanese Cocktail:
- 60ml Cognac
- 15ml Orgeat
- 3 dashes of aromatic bitters
- Lemon twist to garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
- Add the Cognac
- Pour in the Orgeat
- Add 3 full shakes of aromatic bitters
- Shake vigorously
- Strain into a cocktail glass
- Garnish with a twist of lemon
- Cocktail shaker
- Cocktail glass