Guardian Deity

Takuma Watanabe | New York City

Guardian Deity

During Shochu Week, bar tastemakers showcase their individual flavor and cocktail flair by incorporating shochu from different Japanese regionalities and ingredients into a special, limited-time cocktail menu—learn more and find a bar near you.

At its heart, this is a straightforward Gimlet variation, explains Takuma Watanabe, yet it’s also one that lends itself to riffing, depending on what ingredients may be readily at hand. He chose to focus on yuzu, in the form of both fresh juice and jam. The benevolent name nods to that key ingredient as well: “Yuzu, which is in season in winter, has a strong scent, and there is a popular belief that it can exterminate evil spirits,” he says.

Ingredients
  • 2 ounces Beniikko honkaku shochu
  • 2 ounces Beniikko honkaku shochu
  • 1/2 ounce yuzu juice
  • 1/2 ounce yuzu juice
  • 2 tablespoons yuzu jam
  • 2 tablespoons yuzu jam
  • 1/3 ounce kuromitsu (see Editor’s Note)
  • 1/3 ounce kuromitsu (see Editor’s Note)

Garnish: shiso leaf

Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin and shake with ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with a shiso leaf.
Editor's Note

Kuromitsu is a dark sugar syrup from Japan, and can be purchased online or at specialty stores. Alternatively, Watanabe suggests making a version at home with equal parts kokuto (unrefined brown sugar from Okinawa, also called black sugar), water and honey.

Tagged: shochu week