Shochu Cocktail Recipe: Shiitake Old Fashioned

Nankai White Oak Shiitake Old Fashioned
Nankai White Oak Shiitake Old Fashioned
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5 from 2 votes

Shiitake Old Fashioned

An umami-forward and subtly sweet Old Fashioned riff featuring shiitake mushroom infused Nankai White Oak shochu, candy cap bitters and kokuto black sugar syrup.
Prep Time14 d
Cook Time2 mins
Total Time14 d 2 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Cocktail, Japanese
Diet: Low Calorie
Keyword: amami kokuto spirits, kokuto syrup, nankai white oak, old fashioned, shiitake mushrooms
Servings: 12
Calories: 95kcal

Ingredients

Shiitake-infused Nankai White Oak shochu

Candy Cap Bitters

  • 180 ml Aromatic Bitters e.g. Angostura Bitters
  • 1 handful Candy cap mushrooms

Kokuto Syrup

  • 1 cup Kokuto Sugar

Cocktail

  • 2 oz Shiitake-infused Nankai White Oak
  • 0.25 oz Kokuto Syrup
  • 1 dash Candy Cap Bitters

Instructions

Shiitake-infused Nankai White Oak shochu

  • Add fresh and dry shiitake mushrooms to a 1 liter jar.
  • Pour 1 bottle of Nankai White Oak shochu into the jar.
  • Allow infusion to sit for 2 days.

Candy Cap Bitters

  • Add candy cap mushrooms to a small 300ml jar.
  • Add 180 ml of aromatic bitters to jar.
  • Allow infusion to sit for 10-14 days for full flavor.

Kokuto Syrup

  • Combine kokuto sugar and water in a small pot.
  • Allow to simmer until kokuto sugar has dissolved completely.
  • Allow to cool and refrigerate to be usable for 10 days.

Cocktail

  • Combine Shiitake-infused Nankai White Oak, kokuto syrup and candy cap bitters in a mixing glass.
  • Add ice and stir to chill.
  • Serve straight up in a coupe or in a rocks glass with a large ice cube.

Nutrition

Serving: 2.25oz | Calories: 95kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Sugar: 4g

The Shiitake Old Fashioned is a low ABV shochu-based cocktail designed for pairing with food. It combines Nankai White Oak, a cask-finished kokuto shochu, with homemade candy cap bitters and a rich kokuto syrup. The result is a umami-rich, layered cocktail with a subtle sweetness (despite using far less sugar than a traditional Old Fashioned cocktail).

How the Shiitake Old Fashioned was Created

Celebrated chef Yoya Takahashi of Kodo asked us to come up with a cocktail concept to pair with his mushroom-themed omakase dinner. And, he asked that we use mushrooms in the recipe. While a mushroom-based cocktail didn’t sound very appealing at first, we knew the umami components would work well with our line of shochu.

After consulting with friends Matthew Biancaniello and Adam Chapman, we got to work on some ideas and developed two drinks. The first cocktail was a mushroom butter-washed martini and the second was a Shiitake Old Fashioned. While both were delicious, the Shiitake Old Fashioned cocktail is ultimately much easier to make.

How to Enjoy the Shiitake Old Fashioned at Home

The cocktail itself is incredibly easy to make at home. However, it does require a bit of a time commitment. You need to know that you will be wanting to drink this cocktail in approximately two weeks from now. But it is worth every minute of waiting.

First, pick up a bottle of Nankai White Oak, and if you can’t find one, ask your local alcohol supplier to contact us. It’s the perfect alcohol for infusing mushrooms. Higher ABV spirits tend to overpower the subtle flavors of the mushrooms.

Then, go shopping at the farmer’s market and go straight to the mushroom stall. Pick up some fresh shiitake mushrooms and the expensive but worthwhile candy cap mushrooms ($20 worth). You’ll also need to find an Asian grocery store to find kokuto sugar, which is also known as Japanese brown sugar or black sugar.

Next, get one large jar and one small jar and work on the infusions listed in the recipe. Make the kokuto sugar syrup on the day you’ll be enjoying the cocktail.

Finally, just follow the recipe and combine all the infusions and the syrup. Stir with ice. Enjoy with a nicely seasoned ribeye steak.

It’s a little funky at first (it’s a mushroom cocktail after all!) but it will grow on you quickly. The best part is that it uses far less sugar than a regular Old Fashioned and also has at least 30% fewer calories.