At New York’s George Washington bar in the Freehand Hotel, Ben Rojo’s Commodore Perry Cooler reads like a modern twist on the two-ingredient Japanese whisky highball. “I was inspired by the green notes in Suntory’s Hakushu malt that play so prominently in their blended Toki whisky,” says Rojo of the base spirit, which he infuses with shiso leaves for added complexity. Sweetened with wasanbon, a fine-grained Japanese sugar, and bittered with a measure of yuzu juice, it manages to stretch the highball template, yet still hews closely to the spirit of the original.
Commodore Perry Cooler
Ben Rojo, George Washington Bar | New York
- heavy 1 1/2 ounces shiso-infused whiskey, preferably Suntory Toki (see Editor's Note)
- 1 teaspoon yuzu juice
- 1 teaspoon wasanbon syrup (2:1, wasanbon:warm water)
- soda water, to top
Garnish: shiso leaf
- Place two large ice cubes in a highball glass.
- Add the wasanbon syrup, yuzu and whiskey.
- Gently stir to chill the mixture.
- Using a bar spoon to hold the ice to the side, pour the soda water so it lands on the surface of the liquid.
- Gently stir to incorporate.
- Garnish with a shiso leaf.
20 green shiso leaves, washed and de-stemmed
1 750mL bottle of whiskey, preferably Suntory Toki
Allow the shiso to steep in the bottle of whiskey for 48 hours before straining.