Christian Suzuki, Wildhawk | San Francisco

In his Kimochi, Christian Suzuki recreates ochazuke in cocktail form using gin; vapor-distilled genmaicha tea, produced from a still he fashioned out of a tamale pot; myoga cordial, made with a type of Japanese ginger that adds a hint of acidity; clarified yuzu juice and sea bean solution. “It sounds complicated, but it’s actually not,” insists Suzuki. “I’m not a science person.” He carbonates the tea distillate before mixing it for a cocktail that is lightly effervescent, bright and slightly savory.


Serving: 1

  • 1 1/2 ounces London dry gin, preferably Bombay Sapphire
  • 1 1/2 ounces sparkling vapor distilled genmaicha tea (see Editor's Note)
  • 1/2 ounce myoga cordial (see Editor's Note)
  • 1/4 ounce clarified yuzu juice (see Editor's Note)
  • 3 dashes seabean saline solution (see Editor's Note)

Garnish: sweet rice cracker

  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin, then "throw" the contents into the other, empty tin.
  2. Repeat until the ingredients are fully integrated.
  3. Pour into a rocks glass over one large ice cube.
  4. Garnish with amai senbei (sweet rice cracker, see Editor's Note)
Editor's Note

Sparkling Vapor Distilled Genmaicha Tea:
2 cups water
3 cups genmaicha tea

Using a large pot specifically made for steaming tamales, fill the bottom of the pot with 2 cups of water. These tamale pots have a lip about 3 inches from the bottom where a filter slides in. Cover the filter with a cheese cloth and slide the double filter it the pot’s lip, then and cover the filters with genmaicha. Place a bowl in the middle of the filter and genmaicha. Boil the water over medium-high heat. Once boiling, cover pot. Add enough ice on top of the lid to cover the lid’s surface area. Once the hot steam hits the ice cold lid, the evaporation will turn into condensation—the distillate—and drip into the bowl. Have backup ice. When the ice begins to melt, scoop it out and freeze again. 2 cups of water will produce about 1 cup of genmaicha tea distilate. When complete, set aside the genmaicha for garnish. When the distillate comes down to room temperature, add it to an iSi and give it two CO2 soda charges.  

Myoga Cordial:
1 cup myoga
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup junmai sake

Combine myoga, sugar and water s in a pot and bring to boil, then turn off heat. Once it has come down to room temperature, strain out the myoga fibers and set aside for garnish. Combine vodka and junmai sake with myoga syrup.  

Clarified Yuzu Juice:
1 liter yuzu juice
2 milliliters Pectinex Ultra-SPL
4 milliters Kieselsol
2 milliliters Chitosan
Using a Spinzall, add yuzu juice, Pectinex Ultra-SPL and 2 milliliters of Kieselsol After 15 minutes, add Chitosan. After another 15 minutes, add remaining Kieselsol and wait 25 minutes before letting it spin through the Spinzall.

Seabean Saline:
2 cups seabeans
1/2 cup vodka

Dehydrate seabeans at 170ºF for 24 hours. Once dried, grind through a spice grinder. In a pot, add 1 cup of water and vodka and bring to boil. Turn off the heat, and allow to come to room temperature, then refrigerate. Strain out seabean dust and put through dehydrator for another 24 hours. Re-grind seabean dust in a spice grinder and set aside.

Sweet Rice Cracker:
Collect any leftover rice from genmaicha tea. Add leftover myoga fiber/syrup. Mix all together so the tea is coated evenly with the syrup. Dust remaining seabean dust over the mix. Dehydrate at 150 degrees for 24 hours.