Friday, November 22, 2013

1964 Saketini at Benihana

After our cocktail escapades at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill, Momma-San and I headed over to Benihana's for dinner. Since they were so kind to send me a $30-dollar coupon for my birthday (Domo Arrigato Benihana) we decided to cash it in. Unlike the last time we went to Benihana, the place was packed to the gills with other people celebrating birthdays. So we had to forgo the show at the Hibachi grill and just sat off in the lounge area. Which was fine since we had already experienced it once before. We could get the same service in the lounge area without a major wait. While we waited to order, I decided to peruse the cocktail list and decided to keep with the decidedly Asian flavor of the evening.

Now my experience with Sake is limited to the long forgotten Bleecker Street Bar holiday party at Bond Street a few years ago. Forgotten because I can't remember what and how much we drank that night. Given that, my slate in terms of Sake is clean and decided to order one of Benihana's featured cocktails: The 1964 Saketini. Here is how it is described in the menu:

To honor the year Benihana was founded and where the Saketini was born. Grey Goose shaken with Benihana Sake and fresh cucumber.

Before I go into the cocktail, I wanted to touch on what Sake is. According to listing for Sake on the Encyclopædia Britannica website:
Sake, also spelled saki,  Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. Sake is light in colour, is noncarbonated, has a sweet flavour, and contains up to 18 percent alcohol...The manufacture of sake began sometime after the introduction of wet rice cultivation in Japan in the 3rd century bc. The first written record referring to sake dates from the 3rd century ad, and the first reference to its manufacture dates from the 8th century. In ancient Japan sake was produced primarily by the imperial court and by large temples and shrines, but from the early 12th century the general population began to manufacture it. By the early 16th century the modern process for making sake had been nearly perfected. Sake is the drink of the kami (gods) of Shintō, the indigenous Japanese religion.
For more information on the different grades of sake, refer to John Gauntner's Sake-World listing for the different grades of sake with definitions and reviews.

The cocktail was very interesting. First I wouldn't have been able to tell that there was any cucumber flavor to it. Cucumber tends to have a distinctive flavor, especially in cocktails that was not found in this drink. Second, it had the consistency of a Vodka martini with extra dry vermouth or "Wet to Very Wet". It tasted like it had a fair amount of dry vermouth in it. I'm not sure if the sake has the same kind of flavor profile that a fair dry vermouth would tend to have when mixed with a spirit like vodka. It was definitely the kind of cocktail that I needed right before dinner. It had a nice way of cleansing the palate. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

For an interesting article on Sake, check out An Intro to Sake by David Wondrich from Esquire Magazine's website dated October 13, 2011.

For the next post, I highlight the other two cocktails I decided to try during and after dinner: The Strawberry Saketini and the Emperor's Bellini.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla