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Drink DuJour: Katana Kitten’s Calpico Swizzle

Manhattan newcomer Katana Kitten brings Tokyo street culture (and blue curaçao done right) to the West Village

On downtown Manhattan’s brick-hued Hudson Street, Tokyo meets New York City in a brand new bi-level watering hole. The brand new enigmatic cocktail bar Katana Kitten is the brainchild of cocktail legend Masahiro Urushido and Cocktail Kingdom’s Greg Boehm and James Tune and features Chef Nick Sorrentino at the kitchen’s helm. “Katana Kitten is everyone’s everyday bar,” says Urushido. “We are binding the best parts of both Japanese and American drinking and socializing cultures in an unpretentious and carefree environment. Our cocktails take the classics as their inspirations and incorporate Japanese rituals, ingredients, and even humor.”

The drink menu’s structure is a nod to all of these things, but most of all, a reflection of Japanese precision in itself with five highballs, five signature cocktails and five boilermakers on offer. A curated selection of Japanese whisky decorates the warmly lit main back bar for good measure.

The space, designed by Cocktail Kingdom’s Jeannette Kaczorowski, is an inviting one, mirroring the marriage of Katana Kitten’s two cultures; Japan’s Taishō era interwoven with elements of Western pop culture and Tokyo’s underground bar scene. Continuous juxtapositions and whimsical contradictions seem to be a recurring theme throughout, from the name itself to the mash-up of aesthetics. Sorrentino’s “Japanese street food meets Americana bar fare” approach coupled with Urushido’s elevated-yet-unpretentious fusion, and everything in between makes Katana Kitten a must-visit. Here, we share the recipe for the most photogenic cocktail on the opening menu.

3/4 oz. Bombay Sapphire East
3/4 oz. Nigori Sake
1/4 oz. Giffard blue curaçao
3/4 oz. Calpico (a milky uncarbonated Japanese soft drink)
1/4 oz. Simple syrup (1:1 sugar:water)
1/2 oz. Fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. Gruet Blanc de Blancs

Preparation: Add all liquid ingredients to Pearl Diver glass; with swizzle stick or barspoon in glass, add a small amount of pebble or crushed/cracked ice and swizzle. Top with more ice until glass is full, then garnish and serve. Garnish with Maraschino cherry, Sansho pepper, and mint sprigs