Sake Social: cocktail competition

We asked all budding sake ‘samurais’ to get creative for our Sake Cocktail Competition in September. The brief was simple: create two cocktails using a sake base, one Martini and one original. The results were amazing – and delicious.

Contestants were given 15 minutes to create both cocktails, racing against the clock to impress the judges for a chance to win a trip to Japan in 2017. The sake was not allowed to be distilled or infused by entrants, and drinks could have no more than six ingredients.

Our panel comprised some of the sake world’s greats. First up, Christian Pulido, director of operations and beverage at Kiru restaurant. Chris is an internationally-recognized ombudsman of sake, with a bent toward its creative application in nouveau-Kaiseki, Japanese and Western restaurant settings alike.

Next we had Patrick Hobbs, chief booze engineer for event professionals Camm & Hopper and self-professed Willy Wonker of all things alcoholic. Last but not least was Barry McCaughley, owner of Wineaux Ltd. Barry was the 2013 Sake Sommelier of the Year runner up and is an established sake educator.

After much deliberation the winning sake cocktail collection was that of Christina Schneider from Som Saa. Congratulations!

Here are some of our favourites, including Christina’s winning original Zucchini cocktail:

The Martini: Fading Sun

This cocktail was devised by Opium Bar’s Daniel Cook and combines a classic Junmai-style sake with our new Earl Grey Tea Sake Liqueur to jazz up James Bond’s favourite drink…

Glass: Martini glass

50ml Takashimizu Junmai
5ml Fernet Branca
20ml Earl Grey Tea Sake Liqueur
5ml sugar syrup

Method: Build ingredients in a Boston glass, stir, and strain into a chilled martini glass.

The Original: Zucchini

This creative cocktail was devised by Christina Schneider of popular Thai restaurant Som Saa. She paired aged sake with fortified wine and a dash of bitters…

Glass: Martini glass

50ml Daruma Masamune 10 Year Old Sake
20ml Cognac
5ml Pedro Ximenez Sherry
5 dashes walnut bitters

Method: Build ingredients in a Boston glass, shake, and double strain into a martini or rocks glass.

The Original: For God Sake!

This cheeky number was brought to the table by Marco Salazar of Eclipse Bars. A fruity cocktail that matches plum sake with its original fruit form.

Glass: Rocks glass

50ml Shichida Junmai Ginjo
50ml Niizawa Kishinamien Umeshu (plum sake)
20ml lime juice
15ml sugar syrup
20ml lychee juice
½ plum

Method: Muddle the plum and other ingredients together, shake and strain into a rocks glass.

Jess cut her teeth in the drinks industry throwing muddlers around behind the bar at Be At One. After a brief stint as an education journalist she found her way back to booze in the rather more sophisticated arena of wine, and was shown the ropes by the very best wine educators at Bibendum.

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