Nankai Wasabi Sour
- Cocktail Shaker
- Combine all ingredients in a shaker.3 oz Nankai Shochu, 1 oz Simple Syrup, 0.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice, 1-2 pinches Wasabi Salt
- Add ice.
- Shake well to dissolve wasabi salt.
- Strain and serve in a coupe glass.
Nankai co-founder Paul Nakayama created the Wasabi Sour cocktail while mixing drinks for an event at Anajak Thai, a North Hollywood eatery. It was a special event where we were collaborating with Anajak Chef Justin and Chef Ai on pairing Thai/Japanese fusion tacos with shochu cocktails. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Paul was running low on mixers for the featured cocktails and a table of chefs were asking, “So what else do you have?”
As it turned out, Paul had been trying to figure out a wasabi cocktail (see Esteban’s amazing recipe here). Fresh wasabi was too expensive and perishable so he turned to wasabi salt. Kinjirushi‘s wasabi salt is mixed with brown rice powder and sea salt, which was exactly what was needed to balance the spice of the wasabi with the shochu. With fresh lemon and simple syrup, it all tied together for a refreshing, intriguing and ultimately, best-selling cocktail. The Wasabi Sour cocktail was a big hit and continues to be one of our most requested cocktails.
What is Wasabi?
Wasabi, otherwise known as Japanese horseradish, is a plant in the same family as mustard and horseradish. Wasabi grows in fresh water streams in mountain valleys and is notoriously difficult to cultivate. It is also highly perishable. Hence, real wasabi is quite expensive. Therefore, most wasabi that people in the U.S. are familiar with is not true wasabi, but rather a substitute mixture using horseradish, mustard and coloring. Real wasabi is not spicy like a pepper, but rather stimulates the nose more than the tongue.
Pairing Wasabi Cocktails
Wasabi pairs well with fresh fish, tempura, yakitori and steak. In lieu of fresh wasabi, you could also pair these items with a Nankai Wasabi Sour cocktail and enjoy the heightened umami, thanks to the wasabi, koji, and black sugar flavors all coming together.
Other cocktails to try: