Ian here, hoping all of you good people are enjoying the dog days of summer wherever you are. I just learned (in the process of writing this) that the "Dog Days" officially occur between July 3rd and August 11th. For many of you, this should sound obvious as record heatwaves have been hitting all across the U.S. and abroad throughout July and into August.
As for us in Oakland, though, we have pretty much been looking at the same overcast, slightly humid, chilly-at-night days for essentially the entire month of July. As we flipped into August, things are getting hot! It's almost as if the weather everywhere else has been paying attention to our temperate July holiday and waiting to give us our comeuppance (maybe for once we could at least get some rain?!).
Nevertheless, the recent resurgence of moderate heat has managed to get me thirsty; a perfect summer cocktail is in order, and I hope you'll join me in learning how to fashion this surprisingly easy, yet criminally refreshing drink: the Gin Sonic. This is nothing more than a marriage of a classic G&T with the refreshing sensibilities of a highball – three ingredients only (plus a garnish if you please), and you are made in the shade.
We found this drink to be the perfect compliment to the exuberant, newly released Osuzu Gin from Kuroki Honten's Osuzuyama Distillery. Kuroki Honten is a shop favorite distillery, whose Kiroku was responsible for my (and hopefully many others') first forays into ridiculously good, traditionally-made shochu; I felt like I could drink this stuff all the time. Osuzuyama Distillery is Kuroki's modern sister distillery focused on cutting-edge flavors achieved with the best ingredients through little-to-no automation. Osuzuyama Distillery at Umami Mart is best known for Yamasemi Kome Shochu and, co-star of October's Spooky Imo Pack, Yamaneko.
This gin, released in early 2020 in Japan, has waited patiently for the right time to grace our shores and show us all it has to offer. Osuzuyama uses Yamaneko as the base spirit, providing the unmistakable texture, umami, and fruity goodness of a modern imojochu (sweet potato shochu) to the vibrant and interesting botantical profile of this gin. While it drinks like a London dry-style, Osuzu Gin punches above its class in complexity while not being overbearing. All the better to showcase its delights in a tall, endlessly drinkable format.
2 oz Osuzu Gin
3 oz club soda
1.5 oz to 2 oz tonic
Lime wheels for garnish
First, assemble your implements. I went with lime for this one. It complements the Miyazaki citrus in this gin nicely!
Pile your collins, pint, or zombie glass high with good ice. I'm using the Glanz Stainless Steel Collins Tumbler for mine – highly recommended for keeping tight bubbles in highball drinks!
Highball best practice #495: before adding ingredients, stir the ice well to chill your vessel and pour off any melted water.
Add your gin.
Next, add your soda!
Last part, tonic. You can decide between 1.5 to 2 oz, depending on how much sweetness you like.
I try not to over-stir so as not to disturb the bubbles too much. One good up-and-down toss with your barspoon should do it!
Cut yourself some citrus wheels and stuff them throughout! I find the lime peel gives off an aroma that reminds me of shiso! A real delight with this gin.
Et violà, 出来上がり (all done)!
You are now ready for a Supersonic Gin Party! Pair this crushable drink with your favorite album. When it's finished, you'll know it's time for another.
If anyone catches you having this good of a time, they'll probably want to join in.
And that's it! Thanks for reading, and I hope you thoroughly enjoy this refreshing drink as you stay cool wherever you are. If you're feeling extra lazy, come try this out at our bar. We're excited to be featuring a hefty menu of gin cocktails this summer, all featuring our favorite Japanese gins.
Take good care, and be seeing ya soon!