If you fancy the sound of spirits flavoured by wasabi, sencha tea and Japanese oak, read on…
Across New Zealand’s top bars, Japanese flavours are big news in cocktails. Miso, yuzu, green tea, sake, sesame and plum wine are being added to bar staples like gin, vodka and whisky at hotspots like Little Blackwood in Queenstown, C.G.R. Merchant in Wellington and Caretaker and Fukuko in Auckland.
Now the spirits world is getting in on the action with spirits infused with the flavours of Japanese ingredients.
This is the latest whisky from premium Scottish brand Chivas. Mizunara is a whisky blended by master distiller Colin Scott to suit Japanese palates, with rich and fine single malt and grain whiskies aged in Mizunara oak casks. These trees are indigenous to Japan, and give the whisky luxe flavours and aromas of rich fruit and a distinct spicy finish on the tongue.
- Aromas: Pear, orange
- Flavours: Honey, hazelnut and a peppery finish
- RRP$99.99 at Liquorland stores
Sacred Spring Wasabi Gin
Just launched by Golden Bay distillery Dancing Sands, this unique tipple uses locally-grown wasabi root to create a navy strength gin (defined as such by its high 58% ABV). At first sip you’ll taste a subtle wasabi kick, followed by the warming flavor of native horopito, and rounding off with an umami finish from kelp.
- Aromas: juniper, citrus
- Flavours: wasabi, horopito, juniper, citrus, almond, kelp
- Top tip: pair with or use to make our Gin and Beetroot Cured Salmon (recipe below)
- RRP$89.99 at selected Liquorland stores
Beefeater 24 London Dry Gin
A modern interpretation of the classic Beefeater London Dry gin, 24 is a distillation of 12 hand-selected botanicals including rare Japanese sencha tea and Chinese green tea among the more common gin ingredients like juniper, citrus, and spices, all of which have been steeped for 24 hours for flavor intensification.
- Aromas: pine, citrus, tea
- Flavours: smooth and fragrant with notes of juniper, tea, grapefruit and spice
- RRP$44.99 at Liquorland stores