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June 3, 2021

NEW Spring Cocktail: Tokyo Spritz

Tokyo Spritz - gekkeikan plum wine and sake, pineapple, yuzu, passion fruit, soda, cucumber, honeydew melon

Helloooooo, patio season! Mother Nature has graced us with sunshine, and our Bar Development maestro, Kris Jensen, has graced us with the perfect spritz to go with it. We “sat down” (aka, chatted online) with Kris to get the rundown on the newest addition to our cocktail lineup, the Tokyo Spritz. 

Q:  Where did the idea for the Tokyo Spritz stem from? 

A:  Wine spritzes are very on trend right now. I’m not talking about the ones from the 90’s where you mix a cheap chardonnay with soda (but I am partial to these too). The wine spritzes of today are thoughtful, balanced and refreshing. These days you can walk into most bars and order an Aperol Spritz, but that was not always the case. Now that we have gotten a taste for more evolved spritzes, it’s time to discover some new variations. The Tokyo Spritz is exactly that, an exploration of what a Spritz might taste like if it was inspired by Japanese flavours. 

Q:  Can you describe the flavour profile?

A:  Instead of using wine in the classic sense, the Tokyo Spritz uses sake and plum wine, and that’s where all of its flavour cues stem from. The inherent floral notes of sake are balanced with bright, delicate flavours of cucumber and honeydew melon. Paired with vibrant, tropical fruit like pineapple, passion fruit, and yuzu citrus, the result is a cocktail that is complex but also just super refreshing – something you want to enjoy a few rounds of on a patio with friends. Is that a thing anymore? Hopefully again soon. 

Q:  Can you tell us something special about this cocktail?

A:  Well its main ingredient, sake, is pretty special. Sake is roughly 1700 years old and is unique in that it carries similarities to both wine and beer. Sake is “brewed” and created by “brewmasters”, though the flavours are more similar to a white wine. The ritual of drinking sake is one of friendship. It is expected that you pour your friend’s glass and that they reciprocate by pouring yours. If some sake is poured over top of the glass, this should be taken as an act of generosity. This sounds like something I miss! Friends getting together, overpouring and spilling drinks.

Q:  What would be the perfect food pairing for the Tokyo Spritz?

A:  We have so many great Japanese inspired dishes on the menu to pair with this cocktail right now. Personally, I would start with Edamame and a Tuna Stack. There are such nice delicate yet dynamic flavours in these dishes that would go so well with the Tokyo Spritz. From there I would move into having ALL of the rolls. The Test Kitchen team has absolutely nailed these. It is really hard to update and make such classic rolls even better but they have seriously done it. I personally can’t get enough of the Prawn Crunch Roll. Crispy warm prawn with tropical mango, avocado, cucumber and sriracha mayo… yummmmmm. 

Q:  What trends are we going to see in cocktails this summer?

A:  Every year we talk about low alcohol and non alcoholic cocktails. These are going to continue to be a trend as so many of us embrace a healthy lifestyle but still want a complex or fun and refreshing drink. Another trend that’s here to stay this year is “to-go” cocktails. Whether bars are open or not, the public demands drinks and they deserve them more than ever. With more beaches and parks potentially set to become legal watering holes, we will want sophisticated and thoughtful drinks to consume amongst nature. 

Lastly, I would suggest that fun and celebration be a major trend in 2021. This has been a tough year for everyone, but we have grown, we have gotten stronger, and it’s soon going to be time to give ourselves a pat on the back and celebrate what we were able to endure together. It’s going to be time to splurge, and indulge and try new things (enter: Tokyo Spritz). See you on a Cactus patio soon!

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Tokyo Spritz is available at all locations open for dine-in. PS. it’s on Happy Hour too!