“Japanese” Cocktails

I recently learned of a cocktail known as “The Japanese Cocktail.” Nobody knows how the cocktail received its name (including my local Japanese bartenders, who’ve never heard of it) but it appeared in the first ever bar-tending book, “How To Mix Drinks” (1867) by Jerry Thomas.
Suffice to say, it probably isn’t actually Japanese. According to DrinkBoy.com, “The Japanese Cocktail is a wonderful cocktail that is very easy to make. It’s slightly sweet almond flavor makes it a very approachable cocktail for almost anybody.”
Here’s the recipe:
* 2 ounces brandy
* 1/2 ounce orgeat (almond syrup)
* 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Sounds good! Unfortunately, orgeat and Angostura bitters are not easy to get hold of in these parts, so I won’t be trying it anytime soon.

Another cocktail, which I have actually tried, is “the Japanese Slipper.” It’s quite easy to get the ingredients for this one, (including Midori, a sweet melon cordial made by Suntory.)
Here’s the recipe from the International Bartenders Association (IBA) website:

JAPANESE SLIPPER (cocktail glass )
3.0 cl. Midori
3.0 cl. Cointreau
3.0 cl. Lemon juice
Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of honeydew melon.

The Japanese Slipper is rather sweet and fruity- a little girly for my taste. Much more up my street is “the Kamikaze,” another cocktail which I highly doubt originates in Japan, but is guaranteed to get the party started. Here’s the recipe for that, also from the IBA site-

KAMIKAZE (cocktail glass )
3.0 cl. Vodka
3.0 cl. Cointreau
3.0 cl. Lemon juice
Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Why not try all three inauthentic Japanese cocktails in a row to jump start your evening? Might be a laugh.

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13 Responses to “Japanese” Cocktails

  1. dragonlife says:

    All that is a bit sweet!
    Next time try the high ball I mentioned (shochu + Scweppes)
    Sante!
    Robert-Gilles

  2. roaf says:

    Oh yeah, I’ll try that. Sounds good!

  3. simaldeff says:

    I like Shochu + Cold Green Tea (home made … not the one you buy, just make it a bit more darker that usual) + (to make it fresher) Pilled Mint. in shatered ice (glace pilé)
    can had liquid sugar (like the one you use for Mojito) if you like sweet. You can make it with mugicha too maybe?
    I call it the Tokyo-Casablanca, because it’s Shochu+GreenTea (like in Japan) and Mint+GreenTea (like the traditional Mint Tea in Marocco). It must have another name but I don’t know it.

  4. roaf says:

    Hmm, I should try that!

  5. The Japanese Cocktail does sound pretty awesome.

    …Next time I’m playing around in a bar… Do you think those coffee-flavouring syrups would work as a substitute for the orgeat? We have a load of almond, and never seem to actually sell any. I could so get away with taking off with a shot or two’s worth, for this experiment…

    • PJ says:

      The only difference between Orgeat and Almond syrup is the addition of Orange flower oil, which is so small a taste, that you can definitely substitute when mixing with brandy.

  6. roaf says:

    Yeah, you might as well give it a try. Sounds pretty good, actually!

  7. PJ says:

    Japanese Cocktail: They say that it was created by Jerry Thomas himself in honour of a delegation of Japanese dignitaries that visited Manhattan in the 1860’s, but really, it’s difficult to verify either way.

  8. roaf says:

    Thanks for the info!

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  12. coki says:

    The story goes that this one was created around 1860 or so by ‘Professor’ Jerry Thomas to celebrate the arrival of the first Japanese ambassadors to America staying just down the road from his bar in New York. Two years later the good Professor included the recipe when he wrote the world’s first cocktail book, How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant’s Companion.

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