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Nov 20, 2013 01:47 AM

Yuzu cocktails

I'm looking for a way to really showcase yuzu in a cocktail. I find yuzu has a sightly piney sent/flavor so I think it should go well with maybe a lower juniper gin. I've googled but I seem to find a lot of recipes where the yuzu only plays a small part or is used in the form of syrup. I was hoping to use the fresh fruit itself.

Has anyone had a really great yuzu cocktail they like to make?

Shall I just try replacing lemon juice in a lemony recipe (say a French 75) with fresh yuzu juice? I honestly don't think I'm at the point where I can create cocktails on my own.

Yuzu is a real symbol of fall/winter around here and I'd love to have a drink that showcases it for my Japanese Thanksgiving dinner next weekend.

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  1. My neighbor here in Tokyo has a yuzu tree, so in December I often get baskets of fresh yuzu fruit.

    I like squeezing yuzu into shochu with hot water (oyuwari) and I save the empty peels and throw them into the hot bath. The aroma is exquisite, and the feeling of yuzu oil on the skin is bracing.

    I like your idea of replacing lemon juice with fresh yuzu juice. Trial and error will give you the experiences you need to get the best results.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Tripeler

      How lovely to get baskets of fresh yuzu!

      Thanks for the suggestion. I don't know much about shochu. The yuzu scent really made me think gin but I could give shochu a go.

      1. re: tokyopix

        The thing about shochu is that there are several major types based on what it is made from- barley, potato, and rice. (There are others, but these are the major ones.) So there may be a little extra experimentation required.

        Shochu made from rice tends to have a bit of a floral nose, similar to sake. It's relatively neutral in flavor and would probably make a nice, easy base, for yuzu...Barley shochu has a grassier nose and more whiskey assertive flavor....Potato shochu tends to be the most bold in terms of both nose and flavor. Depending on the brand, it can be sweet, fruity, moldy, and/or really assertive. These would probably be trickier but a bullseye might be the most rewarding.

        If you are in Tokyo, pay a visit to Ishinohana in Shibuya. The main guy there, Ishigaki-san, has won world bartender awards. Anyway, he seems to excel at fruit concoctions and could probably give you some pointers.

        ...I'm starting to see craft beer brewers in the U.S. experiment with yuzu and it has been really interesting. Had a gose with yuzu the other day that was really nice....

        1. re: Silverjay

          Thanks so much, Silverjay, for that shochu primer! All the complexities are exactly why I didn't feel qualified at all to experiment with it in the next week and a half! Now with your notes I'll be able to at least start tasting shochu and gradually get to know it.

          I am in Tokyo and I haven't been to Ishinohana, so many thanks for that tip. I will definitely try it out. My Japanese is advanced beginner at best, would that hamper me at Ishinohana? If so I can always wrangle a friend to join me.

          1. re: tokyopix

            I don't know their English ability but they are nice folks in there, even though the atmosphere appears hyper-serious. Ishigaki was featured on an episode of Anthony Bourdain's Tokyo episode of No Reservations. Very nice guy.

    2. Many thoughts here. First off, yuzu is a citrus with lime and tangerine notes so any drink with fresh lime juice or fresh orange juice may work. If your inklinded to gin how about making a yuzu heavy simple syrup(2 parts sugar:1 part water) and use it like Roses lime juice in a Yuzu Gimlet?

      Maybe finding a way to use it fresh with a good Japanese Whiskey would work well. I would probably stay with clear spirits, vermouths, and liqours because that's what limes are mostly used for.

      Tiki drinks may make another great option and a yuzu Mai tai could be great. Or maybe a Yuzu Daiquiri. There is no limit as long as you think of it as a citrus/limish and taste what you make first to balance sweet/sour/bitter elements.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DrinkinLife

        Hmmmmm, a yuzu Mai Tai. Interesting!

      2. Momofuku's Seven Spice Sour is a fantastic cocktail - togarashi-infused sake, yuzu and simple syrup. I've found the recipe before on the internets, but can't locate it now.