Created by Devender Sehgal, Hotel Beverage Manager at Mandarin Oriental, the new creations are superlative and well worth exploring, whether you’re new to shochu or a devotee.
Since The Aubrey opened its doors in February last year, Devender Sehgal has been on a mission to introduce us to and educate us about shochu – the diverse, distilled spirit that is much loved in its native Japan but lesser known elsewhere.
For his second signature cocktail menu, he has crafted eight cocktails made with shochus that have geographical indications (GIs), which recognise the special qualities of a product from a particular region – much like wines from Champagne or Scotch whisky.
The shochus come from four prefectures in southern Japan: Satsuma shochu (made from sweet potato), Kagoshima prefecture on the island of Kyushu; Iki (barley), Iki Island, Nagasaki; Kuma (rice) Hitoyoshi in Kumamoto; and Ryukyu awamori (Thai long-grain rice), which is indigenous to Okinawa.
Cocktails to try…
Koriyama – we suggest starting with this Kuma shochu concoction because like Harmony below, it’s light. Elderflower and honey provide floral sweetness, citrus a hint of zest and awamori the depth. Decidedly moreish.
Harmony – made with Satsuma shochu and Sauvignon Blanc juice. The latter enhances the sweet potato characters of the shochu, while a touch of citric acid adds a bit of tang to this light, effervescent drink.
Two Row Barley – combines Iki shochu with Scotch whisky for a barley-based take on the classic Bobby Burns cocktail with sweet Vermouth rosso and herbaceous Bénédictine.
Mizu No Kuni – uses Kuma shochu made with the finest polished rice and sweet potato shochu, amontillado sherry and banana liqueur for a drink of depth and complexity.
Worship – aged Ryukyu awamori, Lillet Blanc, chocolatey white crème de cacao, Champagne vinegar and mirin unite to create a world of umami in a glass. One for Martini fans.