We've had a fantastic time with our later summer bar hours - finally, our guests are able to make it by our bar for a quick one, two, or three on their way to dinner or just after. While we were enjoying our supreme reign as the top bar in Oakland to drink sake and shochu while the sun sits high in the sky on a Wednesday, having longer hours and more open days has given us the opportunity to meet more people, serve more drinks, and experiment a bit!
As a matter of fact, one fine Tuesday, a customer waltzed into our shop, made a bee-line for the bar and asked us for a lychee martini.
We were stunned. Not that this is a bizarre request by any means, but it's certainly an offering we hadn't exactly considered, given that we are usually drawing from Japanese whiskies, gins, and shochus for our drink creation.
As luck would have it, we just received the first shipment in the U.S. for Daiyame, an imo shochu made by Hamada Shuzo, and guess what the primary tasting note for this shochu is??? Yeah, you guessed it, lychee.
We had our work cut out for us. Here's what we came up with:
aka Umami Mart Lychee Martini
- 1.5 oz Daiyame imo shochu
- 0.75 oz Toji Junpei Hanadori genshu imo shochu
- 0.75 oz Umami Mart Junmai
- 2 dashes Miracle Mile Sour Cherry Bitters
- Barspoon of reserved lychee syrup
- 1 fat peeled lychee for garnish (fresh or from a can)
Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass, and stir (NOT TOO MUCH) for 10-12 seconds. Strain into the best coupe glass you have for added sensuality and flair. Pierce your plump lychee with a cocktail pick and place just so into your creation, and enjoy!
We like this drink because we are shameless dry martini fiends - the lychee notes of the Daiyame are a little much on its own, and so we offset it with the bright orange and bubblegum aromas of the Toji Junpei Hanadori (a rare, aromatic, and super strong shochu from one of our favorite small Miyazaki distilleries). This also kicks the ABV up a bit (crucial). Sub in Umami Mart Junmai for vermouth for an added layer of umami and depth, and the Sour Cherry Bitters add the perfect blush - this martini is as fun to look at as it is to lap up.
This drink is simple and very delicious. Try it out on your own, or come taste it at our bar!
Thanks for reading.