UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
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When we talked about me creating a cocktail with the theme of love for Valentine's day, I balked. Love... ha! How trite!

But in these tumultuous times, we could all use some love. Now, more than ever, am I right? When I walked with thousands of other people at the Women's March in January, we chanted in unison, "Love, not hate, makes America great!" It wasn't cheesy. It was powerful and true.

So let's celebrate love this Valentine's Day. Burning, insatiable, fiery love. Platonic or romantic. For your cause. For your boo, or best yet, for yourself.

Is love the answer? Cynical me would say no. But lately, I'm In the Mood for Love.

In the Mood for Love


INGREDIENTS

1.5 oz Cocchi Americano Rosa
1.5 oz dry vermouth (I used La Quintinye Extra Dry Vermouth Royal)
0.5 oz fresh blood orange juice
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
2 dashes of Miracle Mile Ume Bitters
2 oz sparkling sake (I used Mio)

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METHOD

1. Prepare the blood orange juice.



Blood orange season is here, so take advantage by squeezing fresh blood oranges for this drink. When not available, use a sweeter citrus, like tangerines.

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2. Dash in a few drops of Ume bitters into a Cobbler or Boston Shaker.

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3. Measure out the Cocchi Americano Rosa in a jigger and add to the shaker.

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4. Add the dry vermouth.

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5. Add the blood orange juice.

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6. Add lemon juice. The lemon adds brightness and tartness to balance out the sweetness of the blood orange. If you are using regular oranges, use 1 ounce juice and omit the lemon.

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7. Get a highball glass ready, filled to the brim with ice.

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8. Back to the shaker: Shake it up!

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9. Strain cocktail into the highball glass. I used a double strainer here because there was a lot of pith and seeds from the citrus.

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10. Fill the rest of the glass with sparkling sake, about 2 ounces.

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11. Peel a strip of rind from the orange.

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12. Twist the peel, spraying the citrus oils along the drink and the rim of the glass. Place the peel on the side of the glass.

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Enjoy!

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This is a refreshing cocktail that is low in alcohol. I hope that it excites and inspires passion and love this Valentine's Day!

*Photos by Yoko Kumano at Camino restaurant.