Father's Day is June 16

Welcome to a special edition of Kayo's Kitchen: Live from Hopkins Buffet! For those who follow our Instagram, you may have asked yourselves, "Where is the Hopkins Buffet?" Well, it's Yoko's house of course! God forbid she should name her place something bore-a-thon like Yoko's Kitchen!

I tested out a new cocktail creation recently in Yoko's new kitchen. Her kitchen is literally brand spankin' new -- new dishwasher, new stove, new refrigerator, new countertops. It's pretty dreamy. Plus it's huge -- there's a lengthy canyon between her sink and the refrigerator (move with caution when filling ice trays). It's also a great dance floor, you'll see.

When invited over for dinner, I usually bring over a full cocktail ensemble to make drinks -- spirits, bitters, citrus and tools. What can I say, I enjoy playing bartender. This time, I pulled out a series of random ingredients from my bar and fridge for a shaken cocktail. I rarely make shaken drinks, I much prefer a boozier, stirred drink. But it was a hot day in the East Bay, so a refreshing, tall gin drink was in order.

This is something I made up as I went along. Behold, my Ume Gin Cocktail:

1.5 oz gin
0.75 lemon
0.5 oz dry vermouth
0.5 oz umeshu (plum wine)
A cucumber coin slice and a few sprigs of parsley

Tools: Shaker, strainer, highball glass


1. Put a few slices of cucumber and parsley leaves in the shaker.

2. Muddle.

3. Pour in liquid ingredients, plenty of ice and shake. Preferably barefoot. Do the Cocktail Jiggy!

4. Double strain.

5. Garnish with a sprig of parsley.

This was surprisingly refreshing and savory, thanks to the cucumber and parsley. The umeshu was a complete accident -- I had forgotten my gum syrup and used the plum wine in Yoko's fridge instead of sugar. It was truly a wonderful accident though -- the umeshu adds just a hint of sweetness, and a floral aroma. It is fantastic. I added Miracle Miles' Bergamot bitters for some backbone, but I don't think it's particularly necessary. Actually, a few dashes of Angostura might make it Pimm's Cup-like.

For some extra pizzazz, top with soda. Can't wait for summer!
Column: Kayo's Kitchen


  • Nice sounding beverage. But why not use a lovely Bay Area gin. They need your community support just as you do from Oakland and beyond, no?

    anu on

  • This sounds delicious and totally refreshing!

    chungy on

  • This was absolutely refreshing.

    yoko on

  • Anu, my personal preference is a London dry gin. No 209 or St George gin would work well here too. But I’m poor so this jumbo Beefeater is the most bang for my buck at the moment.

    Kayoko on

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published