At Azumi, the new Japanese restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel, sake turns up everywhere — even in the cocktails. In the Yuki Ringo, Azumi’s most popular sake cocktail, bartender Eric Smith combines the rice wine with fresh pear, lemon and Fuji apple juices, pear liqueur and spicy cinnamon syrup, creating a drink that balances sweetness, citrus and spice.
Sake comes in numerous varieties, just like wine made from grapes. The Yuki Ringo uses Nigori sake, one of the sweeter types. “Nigori” means “cloudy;” the name refers to its unfiltered state that gives it a cloudy appearance and a creamy, sweet taste that makes a lovely match for the juice of apples and pears.
For the drink:
1 ½ oz Nigori sake
½ oz St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur
1 oz fresh Fuji apple and pear juices (½ apple juice, ½ pear juice)
½ oz cinnamon syrup
¼ oz lemon juice
Thin slide of Fuji apple and grated cinnamon to garnish
For the cinnamon syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
15 cinnamon sticks
1. To make the cinnamon syrup, combine water, sugar and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until boiling.
2. Stir for about a minute until the sugar has dissolved, then turn off the heat.
3. Let the cinnamon sticks steep in the hot liquid for at least 10 minutes (or as long as overnight). Remove the sticks and let cool before using.
4. To make the drink, combine sake, liqueur, juices and cinnamon syrup in a shaker, then shake and pour into a martini glass.
5. Garnish with thinly sliced apple and grated cinnamon and serve.