Japanese cocktails gain space in bars in SP; get to know – 02/23/2024 – Bars and nightlife

Japanese cocktails gain space in bars in SP;  get to know – 02/23/2024 – Bars and nightlife


Yuzu, shisso, umeboshi and shochu. These ingredients have appeared more frequently in bars in São Paulo and are typical of Japanese cocktails, which are gaining ground in the capital with the opening of specialized locations.

But don’t think about the sake caipirinha with fruit and lots of sugar. This cocktail is characterized by the combination of few ingredients and a complexity of flavors, says Ana Gumieri, bartender at Shiro Cocktail Bar.

Almost secret, the Japanese bar opened six months ago on the upper floor of the Kuro restaurant, in the Cerqueira César neighborhood. There are only ten seats in the low-light hall, with service subject to reservation.

Gumieri, who comes from a classic cocktail background in places like Gran Bar Bernacca, says that it was difficult, at first, to unravel the ingredients and make combinations with them. “While these inputs are powerful, they are very delicate. Before it worked, it went very wrong.”

His studies resulted in eight signature cocktails. The flagship is the su com cumaru (R$50), which contains white cachaça shaken with matchá, cumaru schrub with Japanese vinegar and Tahiti lemon. The tosuto (R$80) is made with Suntory Japanese whiskey, toasted rice with akamisso (long-fermented soybean dough), honey syrup and Tahiti lemon.

Two kilometers away, The Punch Bar, opened in 2020 in a gallery near Avenida Paulista, follows the precepts of “omotenashi”, Japanese hospitality, and serves a few customers per night.

There is a digital menu, but Ricardo Miyazaki, elected bartender of the year by O Melhor de São Paulo, from Sheet, talks to visitors to create drinks according to each one’s tastes. There are the favorites, such as kuro bune (R$56), made with bourbon, roso vermouth, umeshu (ume plum-based liqueur) and shochu, a distillate that can be made from rice, sweet potatoes, barley or wheat.

Japanese drinks, such as shochu, sake and awamori, made from rice in Okinawa, have entered the market with more suppliers bringing these products to Brazil.

According to Thiago Maeda, chef at the Koya88 bar, the greater product offering contributes to the popularization of Japanese cocktails, which emerged with the boom in izakayas in the capital and gained strength especially after the pandemic.

Alongside bartender Thiago Pereira, he founded Koya three years ago in Vila Buarque. All cocktails contain at least one Japanese element. The wasabi sour (R$35) is a hit, with gin, sake, Tahiti lemon, ginger foam and wasabi syrup.

The use of Japanese ingredients in cocktails is a global trend, says Maeda, and is not restricted to specialized establishments, but is also explored in non-Asian bars.

One of the pioneers is Tan Tan. The menu highlights five ingredients, which star in two cocktails each. Among them, yuzu, a citrus fruit popular in Japan, and umeboshi, a preserve made from salted plums.

“When I explain what umeboshi is, I see a question on someone’s face, but I say it’s worth trying,” says bartender Caio Carvalhaes. “Some inputs are very innovative and there are things that our taste buds are not used to.”

The preserve is combined in the koreisha (R$59) with tequila, vodka, cherry liqueur and lemon. Carvalhaes is head bartender at other Asian-inspired restaurants owned by chef Thiago Bañares, from Tan Tan. They are Kotori, in Pinheiros, and The Liquor Store, above the Goya restaurant, in Jardins, which follows the “omotenashi”.

Most of these bars are linked to the property of a Japanese restaurant, which has also invested in its own menu, using ingredients from the kitchen in the glasses.

This is the case of Tatá Sushi, in Itaim Bibi, which launched 13 signature cocktails created by bartender Marcelo Serrano. The tarê sauce, for example, appears in drops on a caramel tile that accompanies the pear fitz (R$38), made with pear gin, lemon and bitters.

The recently launched menu at Imakay, in the same neighborhood, is formulated with distillates from Japan. The previous menu featured culinary items such as miso and katsuobushi, dehydrated fish. Bartender Kevin Cavalcante created 14 drinks, such as the sunomono sour (R$42), made with house gin, sesame oil fat wash, umeshu, lemon, egg white, Angostura bitters and sunomono syrup (cucumber pickle). .

“It’s a new hype, people are seeing that they are different and versatile raw materials”, says Cavalcante. Public acceptance of the flavors has been positive, but, as in other Japanese counters, they still cause some strangeness, and it is necessary to explain what each of the words in another language means. “It’s like an alcoholic re-education.”

Imakay – r. Urussuí, 330, Itaim Bibi, @imakaysaopaulo

Koya88 – r. Jesuíno Pascoal, 21, Vila Buarque, @koya88

Tan Tan – r. Fradique Coutinho, 153, Pinheiros, @tantannb

Kotori – r. Con. Eugênio Leite, 639, Pinheiros, @kotori.sp

Shiro Cocktail Bar – r. Padre João Manuel, 712, Cerqueira César, @shirococktailbar

Tatá Sushi – r. João Cachoeira, 278, Itaim Bibi, @tatasushi

The Liquor Store – al. Franca, 1.151, 1st floor, Jardins, @theliquorstore. sp

The Punch Bar – r. Manuel da Nóbrega, 76, store 17, Paraíso, @thepunchsp


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