Silver Chawari

Julia Momosé, Kumiko | Chicago

This highball is named for chawari, a classic shochu serve. “Cha means ‘tea’ in Japanese, and waru (or wari) means ‘to cut’ or ‘to mix with,’” Julia Momosé explains. “This serve is an izakaya staple,” often made with green tea or oolong tea.

For this version, she selected a sencha from her hometown of Kyoto, paired with the “exquisite” Hakutake Ginrei Shiro shochu, a rice-based silver shochu fermented with ginjo sake yeast at very low temperatures for extra aromatics. Bermutto, a new aperitif from Japan, adds pleasantly bright, herbaceous tones. “Bermutto is spelled as such, a play on the way we pronounce ‘vermouth’ in Japan,” Momosé explains, but it’s not a true vermouth, as the base is nihonshu and rice shochu, not wine. Imbued with citrus fruits kabosu and yuzu, sansho pepper and yomogi (also called Japanese mugwort), these botanicals highlight the fruity and green notes of the tea, as well as the tropical fruit notes found in the shochu. A final note from Momosé: The drink “does not need any garnish, as it is eloquently aromatic as is.”

Ingredients

Serving: 1

  • 2 ounces Hakutake Ginrei Shiro shochu
  • 1/2 ounce Oka Kura Japanese Bermutto sake vermouth
  • 3 to 4 ounces chilled Ryokucha (see Editor’s Note)

Directions
  1. Fill a highball glass with ice. Stir to chill and strain off the melted water.
  2. Measure the shochu, Bermutto and chilled ryokucha into the glass.
  3. Give a gentle stir, and serve.
Editor's Note

Ryokucha (Japanese green tea)

6 grams loose-leaf sencha tea
180 ml to 200 ml 175°F water

Steep tea for 1 1/2 minutes and strain. Depending on the tea, you can get multiple infusions, so do save the leaves and taste how the tea changes steep after steep.

Tagged: JSS, Julia Momose