Cocktail Stories: Saké MojitoBy Owen Bellwood
Single-variety bars must be particularly creative if they wish to offer classic cocktails. This challenge is even greater if the star of their drinks list is saké.
Mojitos may conjure up images of sun-drenched beaches in the Caribbean, but New York City’s Tokyo Record Bar has transformed the classic summer cocktail, keeping the rum as far away as possible.
The venue is a saké-centric cocktail hub. However, as very few classic mixed drinks call for the fermented rice-based beverage, the bar team had to get creative when curating the drinks list.
Owner Ariel Arce (pictured above) says: “We have a beer and wine licence and are a saké-focused bar, so we had to use saké in as many of the cocktails we serve as possible.”
According to Arce, the Saké Mojito at Tokyo Record Bar was created to maintain the identity of the original Mojito while embracing the bar’s reputation for saké – an ethos that extends to other cocktails on its menu.
The bar has been serving its own saké-based take on the Mojito since opening its doors in Greenwich Village a year ago. To create the Saké Mojito, Tokyo Record Bar replaces the rum with saké, the mint is swapped for shiso leaves and the lime is substituted for yuzu. But, according to Arce, the method for making the drink stays the same.
She explains: “We aimed to make our Saké Mojito much less sweet, but it’s also more refreshing and the yuzu makes it nice and citrusy.”
According to Arce, consumers can’t get enough of the Saké Mojito and it has become the bar’s most popular cocktail.
As well as its Saké Mojito, Tokyo Record offers up a number of saké-filled twists on the classics, including a Saké Negroni and a sochu-based Dark ‘n’ Stormy.
Arce says: “I think it’s great for bartenders to experiment with classic cocktails, but they have to be sure that the drink maintains the integrity of the original.”
Click through to the next page for a list of ingredients and how to recreate the Saké Mojito at home.
30ml yuzu saké
3 shiso leaves
Method: Chop up the yuzu and shiso leaves, then add them to a Highball glass and muddle to release the flavours. Fill the glass with ice, then add the saké and yuzu saké. Stir to combine and top with soda water. Garnish the Saké Mojito with a fresh shiso leaf.