August 11

sake cocktails at umami. washington square brookline.

As the rain stops and the sun peeks out, putting the rest of the week in Boston into the mid 80’s with lots of sun, the idea of a Sake based cocktail seems to calm the mind. The world of Sake cocktails can be completely hit or miss – some cover the taste of Sake completely and others fail to create a harmonious drink opting for clashing flavors that do not belong together. A good Sake cocktail will not only pays respect to the delicate flavors of the Sake itself but can elevate those flavors; highlighting them with delicious ingredients and the deft hand of a good mixologist.

Umami Asian Bistro in Brookline has given us two great examples of how to use Sake in fun and creative ways, all the while celebrating the flavors of Sake and pairing them well with Chef/Owner Yoshi Hakamoto’s seasonal, creative Asian inspired cuisine. This skillful use of Sake in cocktails is no happy accident; it is the work of Beverage Director Noon Inthasauwan who, in addition to her work at Umami, taught spirits/Sake classes at Le Cordon Bleu in Cambridge MA and has recently passed John Gauntner’s 3 day Sake Professional Course in NYC.

A current summer favorite at Umami is a Sake cocktail made through a method of infusion – The Garden Breeze. A delicious blend of Junmai Sake and Gin, infused with cucumbers and thyme. Served straight (although over ice would be great for those hot afternoons). The existing melon, cucumber and fruit aspects of a good Junmai are heightened by the herbal aspects of cucumber slices and fresh thyme. The gin lends some support in bringing out black pepper and spice flavors in the Sake as well.
For a more complicated but playful cocktail that gives a wink to the fun of Japanese Anime; try the super cute Nigori NoNo. This crowd favorite uses the rich textures of Nigori Sake, the sweetness of honey liqueur, the bite of yuzu juice and bitters, and the soft fruitiness of hibiscus to deliver one great drink. Noon (knowing my fondness for a good drink) has been kind enough to supply me with the recipe! Please see below.
Nigori NoNoUmami Asian Bistro. Brookline MA.
2 oz Nigori Sake
¾ oz Barenjager (honey liqueur)
¾ oz Yuzu juice
½ oz lemon juice
1/2 oz Hibiscus syrup
3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Serve over crushed ice
Garnish with Mint sprig and a Peep Marshmallow

Umami Asian Bistro