Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Two Yuzu Cocktails at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill

To continue with the theme of my last post The Hummingbird at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill, my friend Alberto made me a couple of cocktails that contained Yuzu. Since I had never had Yuzu in any way, shape or form I was curious. But what's Yuzu you may ask?

According to the article Yuzu: The Many Wonders of Japanese Citrus by Eric Gower dated October 9, 2011 from the SFGate.com food section website:
It is usually translated as "Japanese citron," but that doesn't tell us much. It is about the size of a tangerine, and has a yellow-orange rind.

The mature fruit is seedy, and produces little juice, but is highly prized for its fragrant zest, which seems to combine the best flavors of Meyer lemon, mandarin orange and grapefruit. The unripe fruit, with its green rind, does provide some juice, which is exceedingly sour yet delicious.
Another of the ingredients used in one of the cocktails was Shochu. What is Shochu?

According to the listing for Shochu and Awarami from the website John Gauntner's Sake-World:
Shochu is Japan's other indigenous alcoholic beverage, but unlike sake, shochu is distilled. It is also made from one of several raw materials. The alcoholic content is usually 25%, although sometimes it can be as high as 42% or more

Like almost all such beverages throughout the world, shochu developed as it did as an expression of region, especially climate, cuisine and available raw materials. Perhaps the factor most affecting the development of shochu is the weather. The island of Kyushu and the western part of  the island of Honshu are significantly warmer than the rest of Japan.

Brewing sake calls for relatively lower temperatures, but shochu can be distilled in these warmer regions. Also, the higher alcohol content and drier feel is more appealing to many in milder climates.    

Unlike many other beverages, shochu is made from one of several raw materials. These include sweet potato, and shochu made from these is called "imo-jochu." Other materials commonly used include from rice, soba (buckwheat), and barley. There is even one island where there a few places that make shochu from brown sugar. It can also be made from more obscure things like chestnuts and other grains.  

And, each of these raw materials gives a very, very distinct flavor and aroma profile to the final sake. These profiles run the gamut from smooth and light (rice) to peaty, earthy and strong (potato). Indeed, each of these raw materials lends a unique flavor in much the same way that the peat and barley of each region in Scotland determine the character of the final scotch whiskey.
Now that we have gotten the explanation of the two more obscure ingredients, here is the first cocktail:
The Yuzu Cocktail
Yuzu
Shochu
St. Germain
The cocktail came in an old fashioned/rocks glass on the rocks. I found it to be very light and semi sweet with a hidden smokiness and kick on the aftertaste. It was quite pleasurable.

Yuzu Cocktall (left) Yuzu Margarita (right)
The second cocktail was a take on the Margarita using Yuzu. Here is the Yuzu Margarita
The Yuzu Margarita
Yuzu
Siembra Azul Tequila Reposado
Homemade Honey Syrup
This one, served up in a coupe glass was an interesting take on a Margarita. The Yuzu replaced citrus component of the sour mix/lime and the honey syrup replaced the sweetness from the Triple Sec. I can't say that I've ever heard about the Siembra Azul Tequila Reposado. I need to keep an eye out for it for a future blogpost. I have to say that it was a nice cocktail.

What I like about these cocktails and the aforementioned Hummingbird is that they are made with just three simple ingredients. Nothing too fancy or flash. Kudos to Blue Ribbon for keeping it simple and kudos to Alberto for the amazing cocktails. I appreciate the love. :)

Next stop after Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill was Benihana's. Hey, I had a $30 dollar coupon for my birthday. Couldn't let that go to waste. Right?

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla