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The Hinoki Martini at Katana Kitten

Drink DuJour: The Hinoki Martini

Sip a Japanese version of the quintessential cocktail

Most of us did not get to travel to the Tokyo Olympics to cheer on Team USA in person. However, sipping an elegant libation from the new book, The Japanese Art of the Cocktail (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Michael Anstendig and Masahiro Urushido, is the next best thing.

The Hinoki Martini, the signature drink at Urushido’s game-changing New York City bar, Katana Kitten, salutes the quintessential American cocktail, the classic dry martini and the Japanese traditional sake serve. This saketini variation splits its base between vodka and gin and its modifiers between sherry and sake. Katana Kitten serves the drink in a stemless cocktail glass placed in an ice-filled masu, the iconic cypress wood box used to serve sake. The use of a unique aromatic cypress tincture further salutes this tradition. See below for the complete recipe.

Hinoki Martini:

1.25 ounces Grey Goose vodka
1.25 ounces Spring44 Mountain Gin
0.5 ounce Lustau “Solera Reserva” fino jarana sherry
0.25 ounce Dassai 50 junmai daiginjo sake
5 dashes Hinoki Tincture*

Garnish: lemon twist, kombu-brined olive, rakkyo (pickled Japanese scallion bulb) and cypress leaf

Preparation: Fill a square wooden masu cup with pebble ice and place a chilled stemless martini glass in the ice. Combine the vodka, gin, sherry, sake and hinoki tincture in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until chilled and strain into the glass. Express a lemon twist over the surface of the drink and discard, then spray four bursts of hinoki tincture over the drink. Delicately adorn the pebble ice around the glass with a kombu-brined olive, rakkyo and a cypress leaf.

*Hinoki Tincture:
0.5 cup hinoki wood chips
2 cups Everclear or high-proof vodka

Preparation: Combine the wood chips and Everclear in an airtight 1.5 pint glass container and allow the chips to macerate for 24 hours. Strain into an airtight 1-pint container glass. Divide some of the tincture into a 4-ounce atomizer bottle and a 4-ounce dropper bottle, storing the remainder in the glass container. Seal the containers and store in the pantry indefinitely. This recipe makes 2 cups of tincture.

The Hinoki Martini photographed by Eric Medsker