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black burgers and other limited-edition and novelty items at fast-food establishments

I was looking at the big sign for them yesterday. I was thinking, they should swap out the black cheese for those lurid orange squares for a Halloween promotion.

about 2 hours ago
tokyopix in Japan

Monkey 47 Gin

I had it last night in Tokyo 50/50 with Noilly Prat and I thought it was really nice. I haven't seen it on sale to see what the price point is here (for instance, Plymouth is super cheap here) but if it's even remotely reasonable I would definitely buy it.

Sep 16, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Desert Island Liquor Question

I'm not in Columbia, but I can tell you what I can't get here in Japan:

- all the various bitters available in the US including something as usual as Peychaud's

- St. Germain

- Pierre Ferrand Dry CuraƧao (I recently looked thinking I could but I was totally wrong. In fact, curacao is tough here)

- absinthe (only a couple brands and none of the good ones)

- Herbsaint

- maraschino (used to be able to get it and now it's disappeared)

That's off the top of my head. If you have a friend in the business you might think of your favs and see if they export to Columbia then you'd know for sure what you'd have no hope of getting (like St. G here).

Good luck with your move!

Jun 29, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

For anyone else on this quest, I finally found this which is helpful:

http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/li...

It turns out that my mistake was searching "4th of July cocktails", which was just giving me froo-froo red, white and blue stuff. I finally switched to searching "American cocktails" and I'm having more luck.

Is anyone else doing cocktails for the 4th?

Jun 27, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Okay, thanks for the additional info!

Jun 27, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Hee hee! "...scares the enamel off my teeth."

I hate to sound stupid, but could you elaborate on swizzle and swizzling? I've seen something about twirling the swizzle stick (is that the right term?) between your palms, but would I be adding another ingredient to the Golden Gate to make it a Golden Gate Swizzle?

Jun 26, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Thanks! This looks good. I'll put it into the try outs this weekend. I think I can get the Ferrand as I've seen their products in several places.

Many thanks!

Jun 26, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Would that be clearly West? It would certainly be convenient and popular I'm sure.

I also found the Golden Gate for West (Grand Marnier, Benedictine, Campari, grapefruit and lemon juice). Anyone ever tried one?

Detroit Daisy (rum, lime juice, grenadine and mint) could work for North but again I've never had one. Obviously need to use this weekend for try outs.

Jun 26, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Gin: Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Beefeater?

Oddly, here in expensive Tokyo, Plymouth recently went from around $15/bottle to $13!

Jun 25, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

maybe for West Coast something with Fernet. It's popular in SF, right?

Jun 25, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Thanks. Sounds interesting. I'm looking more for classics, but that certainly sounds festive!

Jun 25, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Thanks. I remember hearing old fashioned are different up there, is that right?

Jun 25, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

Thanks! I hadn't heard of an Alaska before. That's a good one!

Jun 24, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fourth of July cocktails

I'm an American expat in Tokyo. I'm having a 4th of July party and I'm looking for cocktail inspiration. Last year I did a menu meant to highlight American booze. I did bourbon drinks (mint julep, whiskey sour, brown derby); rye drinks (Manhattan variations: Manhattan, Park Slope, Brooklyn); a Tom Collins (for American hoaxes, a bit of a stretch on the theme but I wanted a gin drink) and a Papa Doble (for one of America's most famous expats).

This was a hit, but I need something new. Plus, I'll have more folks so 8 options is a lot for me to mix each individual drink as I do. The audience will be mostly Japanese, American, German and Indian nationals who come to these things regularly and are pretty open and amendable to trying all kinds of things.

I was thinking of trying to find 4-6 iconic American cocktails. Maybe something from N, S, E and W plus 2 extra? I thought maybe:

Manhattan (East coast)
Sazerac (South)
???? North
???? West

Or maybe Sazerac being very New Orleans could stand on it's own and perhaps a mint julep for the South? Or is there a better idea than a geographic theme?

Anyway, clearly I'm having menu writer's block and would appreciate any help. I definitely don't want to go red, white and blue or other gimmicky stuff. Just good, iconic cocktails that would say "America," and be not too, too fiddly to mix to order (e.g. I'm not going to attempt any tiki drinks for this party).

I'll be serving slightly Japanese influenced American BBQ food like burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, etc. I can get most booze here. The only think I can't get for sure is St. Germain, but I've brought a couple bottles back recently. Bitters are a bit limited here, but I have Angostura, Peychaud's and a couple others.

Thanks for any ideas!

Jun 24, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Fruit shops in Tokyo

I agree with Robb S. If you're going to a specialty fruit store half the point is the high price. The fruits are beautiful and beautifully packaged. You could get a smaller item and not break the bank.

There's one in the Tokyo Midtown building B1 and one on the first floor of the Mitsui tower building where the Mandarin Oriental is in Nihonbashi. That one is called Sembikiya. They have a cafe where you can try some of the fruits.

May 23, 2014
tokyopix in Japan

White Smoke Texas smokehouse - anyone been?

I'm sure you're right. I found out some more info on their facebook page. It seems the first smoker had a malfunction and filled the place with smoke (but at least not fire). I also wondered if that caused the landlord to simply not want a smoker in his/her property.

I had actually grown fond of White Smoke and really enjoyed the sides and cocktails especially, but it was very local for me. If it moves far from the original spot I don't imagine we'll get there often.

I wish them luck, though. It must be so difficult to have something like that interrupt your business especially when it's still rather new.

Mar 30, 2014
tokyopix in Japan

White Smoke Texas smokehouse - anyone been?

Last year I read that there had been a problem with their smoker and they were closing until early 2014 which seemed like such a long time. Now the website says they are not opening up again in Azabujuban and are moving and won't open again until the summer of this year. I wonder what happened. It doesn't say to where they are relocating.

Mar 29, 2014
tokyopix in Japan

James Bond: Drinking watered-down martinis?

Trinity Hall here!

Jan 08, 2014
tokyopix in Spirits

Help me name this drink

You said you wouldn't use jam in a drink, not restricting it to this drink in particular. I was commenting on that. I can see jam being used as a sweet element in a drink successfully. Seeds would easily filter out.

But to answer your question, yes, drinks can have more than one element bringing similar tastes to the party (more than one bitter, sweet, etc.). Doesn't seem unusual at all, really, since here they bring sweet + alcohol + orange and sweet + blackberry so each one is providing sweet plus a flavor the mixer was looking for.

I haven't used jam, but it seems like an interesting alternative to syrups to me.

JMF - have you tried the "breakfast martini"?

Dec 17, 2013
tokyopix in Spirits

Help me name this drink

I also don't see jam as any different from flavored syrups, simple syrups and liqueurs. It's just the sweet element. Marmalade would also provide a bitter element. Just b/c there is something sweet involved doesn't mean the cocktail will be overly sweet. A balanced cocktail will be a balanced cocktail.

And having just begun my exploration of tiki drinks I can assure that a paper umbrella in no way signals an overly sweet cocktail! Again, if it's balanced it's balanced, doesn't matter what non-food garnish you see.

Dec 17, 2013
tokyopix in Spirits

Yuzu cocktails

Hmmmmm, a yuzu Mai Tai. Interesting!

Nov 21, 2013
tokyopix in Spirits

Yuzu cocktails

Thanks so much, Silverjay, for that shochu primer! All the complexities are exactly why I didn't feel qualified at all to experiment with it in the next week and a half! Now with your notes I'll be able to at least start tasting shochu and gradually get to know it.

I am in Tokyo and I haven't been to Ishinohana, so many thanks for that tip. I will definitely try it out. My Japanese is advanced beginner at best, would that hamper me at Ishinohana? If so I can always wrangle a friend to join me.

Nov 21, 2013
tokyopix in Spirits

Yuzu cocktails

How lovely to get baskets of fresh yuzu!

Thanks for the suggestion. I don't know much about shochu. The yuzu scent really made me think gin but I could give shochu a go.

Nov 20, 2013
tokyopix in Spirits

Yuzu cocktails

I'm looking for a way to really showcase yuzu in a cocktail. I find yuzu has a sightly piney sent/flavor so I think it should go well with maybe a lower juniper gin. I've googled but I seem to find a lot of recipes where the yuzu only plays a small part or is used in the form of syrup. I was hoping to use the fresh fruit itself.

Has anyone had a really great yuzu cocktail they like to make?

Shall I just try replacing lemon juice in a lemony recipe (say a French 75) with fresh yuzu juice? I honestly don't think I'm at the point where I can create cocktails on my own.

Yuzu is a real symbol of fall/winter around here and I'd love to have a drink that showcases it for my Japanese Thanksgiving dinner next weekend.

Nov 20, 2013
tokyopix in Spirits

Halloween Cocktails

I was totally with you until the brain!! Coming off my recent tiki kick, I have everything to make this. I might try it w/o the brain.

My husband's birthday is Halloween and I'm always looking for something for his party. I usually default to just stuff he likes as the theme, but if I could get some good Halloween drinks going I'd be one happy hostess!

I also thought of the Corpse Reviver family, but after that I'm kind of stuck.

Oct 28, 2013
tokyopix in Spirits

Tiki drinks party - some questions

It went SO well! Thanks to all the great info here and the generous folks who offered it up.

Oahu does need a good cocktail spot. I like beachy, but my dream would be in one of the great, old mid-century open-air lobbies. Lewers and the space right outside of Lewers could be it, and some of the cocktails are good. But they aren't great. The Halekulani is also showing a frightening tendency to mess with some of their great, original mid-century features. I hope they don't muck it up completely like they did to the (former) open-air part of the Kahala. :(

Oct 04, 2013
tokyopix in Spirits

Tiki drinks party - some questions

I was just about to respond, "You mean 'Todd is god' Todd Rundgren?" Heart!!!!

Oct 02, 2013
tokyopix in Spirits

Tiki drinks party - some questions

Sadly, I don't have a great Honolulu cocktail place. My husband wasn't a cocktail aficionado when he lived there (through undergrad) and now we go back with a toddler in tow which curtails most evening activities.

Lewer's is in the Hale Kulani. Sometimes they have nice live jazz, but that's hit or miss. The same goes for the cocktails, though it's a good place to just request something made the way you want it.

Besides the Mai Tai at HWaK, I haven't had a single tiki drink on Oahu. Sad. Perhaps there's a business opportunity here....

Oct 02, 2013
tokyopix in Spirits

Tiki drinks party - some questions

Well, it was a HUGE success. Thanks beyond words for all the great info and help here. My guest (lead by a German lawyer) decided to just work down the menu, tasting all the cocktails.

The night's big winner was the Cradle of Life. Not just for the flaming garnish, either. People really liked the drink. One guest who is not a cocktail person pronounced it, "balanced".

I put the info for each drink on the menu (maker, bar, date) and that sparked lots of great conversation.

I would say that tiki drinks, though involved, are great drinks and also great for cocktail newbies. They seemed very approachable for everyone.

Mind, these are not for the faint-hearted! Strong stuff. I served 1/2 to 2/3 of the original volume for each cocktail and it was still a lot of booze! But we had good Hawai'ian food and lots of snack and I made key lime pie for dessert and everyone seemed to walk pretty straight when they let.

Thanks again to everyone for sharing your knowledge, experience and personal take on tikis!!

Sep 28, 2013
tokyopix in Spirits

Tiki drinks party - some questions

I puffy pink hear the Hale Kulani. We had our Hawai'ian wedding there. ( we were legally married at the Carlyle Hotel in NYC and had our religious ceremony in Normandy, France, but we had a blessing HI for all of my husband's friend who couldn't afford to travel so far) I always think it is a shame that they have this brilliant mid-century modern place and don't do great cocktails. Lewer's Lounge is a better bet than House Without a Key cocktail-wise. But we often meet people at HWaK for cocktails and you can hear some pretty music there some nights.

Such a missed opportunity on the great cocktail program. But I still love it It and the open air lobby at the Kahala are my happy places on Oahu, even though they have seriously messed with the Kahala.

Sep 28, 2013
tokyopix in Spirits