Spread the love

“Modern Japanese cocktails are an experience, encompassing fresh, in-season ingredients, well-crafted spirits, technique, and omotenashi [“hospitality”], which means making guests feel happy, comfortable, and at ease,” says Julia Momosé, the creative director of the bar Kumiko in Chicago and a co-author, with Emma Janzen, of The Way of the Cocktail”, due in October.

Here, Momosé, who specialises in creating blends through the lens of her Japanese heritage, shares three Japanese cocktails that are perfect for autumn. “The Kyoho Sour and the TSC contain some of the incredible seasonal ingredients in Japan that take you from late summer into fall,” she says. “And the low-alcohol Hishimochi is inspired by the traditional Japanese dessert [Hishi Mochi] — the three layers stand for security, purity, and health and long life.”

Kyoho Sour (Left)


  • 45 ml vodka
  • 22 ml dry vermouth
  • 14 ml simple syrup (1 part sugar and 1 part water)
  • 14 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 7 ml Concord wine vinegar
  • Ice
  • Dry champagne
  • Mint leaf (for garnish)
Japanese Cocktails
Image: Courtesy alleksana/Pexels


  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, dry vermouth, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and wine vinegar.
  2. Shake with ice to chill, then strain into a coupe glass. Top the Japanese cocktail with a splash of dry champagne. Garnish with a mint leaf.

If you can’t find wine vinegar, then substitute 14 ml grape juice and add an extra 7 ml fresh lemon juice to the recipe.

Tomato Sherry Cobbler (Middle)


  • 60 ml fino sherry
  •  30 ml tomato water syrup
  • 7ml fresh lemon juice
  • Ice
  • Garnish: green shiso leaf, cherry tomato, confectioners’ sugar


  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine fino sherry, tomato water syrup (see recipe below), and fresh lemon juice with ice.
  2. Shake just long enough to chill, then strain into a cocktail glass with crushed ice. Garnish the Japanese cocktail with a green shiso leaf and a cherry tomato. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

(If this tomato-heavy Japanese cocktail has you craving a Bloody Mary, try one of these spicy recipes.)

Tomato Water Syrup

  1. Stem, core, and coarsely chop 450 gm vine-ripened tomatoes. Place in a blender, and blend on high until smooth.
  2. Line a sieve with thick paper towels, and set it over a bowl. Pour the tomato puree into the sieve, and let it sit for about 1 hour.
  3. For every 1/2 cup tomato water, add 1/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt (or to taste). Mix until fully combined.
  4. Refrigerate for up to 1 week, or portion into ice trays and store in your freezer until it’s time for a cocktail.

Hishimochi Bitters & Soda (Right)


  • Ice
  • 1/4 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 30 ml hot water (about 55°C)
  • 22 ml simple syrup (1 part sugar and 1 part water)
  • 80-120 ml club soda
  • Garnish: bitters (like Peychaud’s)


  1. Fill a collins glass with ice to chill. Sift matcha powder through a tea strainer into a chawan, or shallow bowl.
  2. Add hot water, and whisk until it becomes a paste. Add simple syrup (1 part sugar and 1 part water), and whisk to incorporate.
  3. Remove the ice from the glass. Pour in the matcha syrup mixture, and fill the glass with crushed ice. Slowly pour club soda into the glass, without agitating the layers.
  4. Garnish the Japanese cocktail with 5 to 7 dashes of bitters (like Peychaud’s), and serve with a Japanese-style stir stick (mador?) or a reusable straw.

This story first appeared on www.shape.com

(Main and Feature Image Credit: Caitlin Bensel)

© 2021 Meredith Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Licensed from Shape.com and published with permission of Meredith Corporation.  Reproduction in any manner in any language in whole or in part without prior written permission is prohibited.

Shape and the Shape Logo are registered trademarks of Meredith Corporation. Used under License.