The Saké Jam Spritzer
This one'll be sweet and simple. Recipe first.
1 1/2 oz. G Joy - Junmai Ginjo Sake
1 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz. Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
Spoonful of Raspberry Jam
Pour ingredients into shaker with a cracked cube of ice.
Shake and open pour into a glass with a large cube of clear ice.
Top up with ginger ale.
Garnish with golden berries.
This is a drink that I've had in my little idea book for quite some time. It's based on a couple experiences beginning with the first time I had sake when I turned twenty-one followed by the first time I had a Gin & Jam just a few years ago.
Sake is such an underrated and under-consumed spirit when it comes to use in cocktails. Savory yet sweet, bitter yet fruity and even nutty; clean and refined, this spirit was instantly one of my favorites when I tried it at the age of twenty one. I brought a bottle of it along to one of my first trips to Hana Sushi, a charming sushi joint in the heart of Nazareth, PA (and my favorite restaurant of all time), it was shared amongst a few friends over a great meal and when we were finished, we stepped into a golden sunset feeling satisfied and cleanly buzzed. It was such a pure moment and after such a positive experience with this new (or new-to-me) potable, I remember getting home and wanting to explore it more. So, at some point in the coming weeks, this curious 21-year-old took a trip to the liquor store to gather up a bunch of bottles of various make and flavor to do some sampling, mixing and overall experimentation. One thing that came out of this journey of discovery was a St. Germain/sake/ginger ale concoction that I garnished with some fresh fruit. Sweet, refreshing and pleasant to behold, it reminded me of a fizzy green tea. This moment stuck with me and was probably the catalyst to the years of cocktail intrigue that followed.
The other experience that influenced this drink was the day my wife, Izzi, showed me something called a Gin & Jam - a delightful cocktail consisting of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and a dollop of your favorite jam. It's a perfect summer cocktail; sweet, sour, ice-cold refreshment for those sun soaked days - and attractive, aesthetically speaking. Lemon yellows blending with raspberry reds, a mini-spoon of jam for garnish spilling over on a bed of cracked ice...it's a picture perfect libation that made a lasting impact. Somehow, when I started dreaming up these new drinks, I drew the line from this icy, summer cocktail to the fizzy mixer of my early years of alcohol experimentation. Two years ago, I wrote down the first draft of a recipe in my little black book and I just knew in my head that it would work. That recipe just sat there until a week-or-so ago when I finally got around to trying it out. Sure enough, it was solid and satisfying and after a few tweaks here and there (the addition of a touch of ginger liqueur and a bright new garnish of golden berries) I knew I had a winner. Since then, the drink has been taste tested by a few brave family members, all of which have given it two thumbs up.
The ingredients are simple, there's not a lot of prep involved and it's a drink that allows you to get a little creative. I used raspberry jam for this one but, really, it could be any flavor you'd like; in fact, one thing I like to do in the summer is peruse a good farmers market for a jelly or preserves seller; oftentimes, these places will have small, cheaper jars of all kinds of jam - you buy up a few of those jars, bring 'em home and set them up with the other ingredients of this drink at a party or picnic and, voila, you've got a specialty drink for whatever occasion that's easy for people to walk up and make it how they like. Another point to make about this drink is that none of the ingredients have an ABV of over 30%, so while there is certainly enough alcohol in the recipe to inebriate any consumer, the amount in this drink is fairly lower than that of most other standard mixed drinks. If there is a detractor to this cocktail, it's that a couple of the ingredients are potentially pricey (namely, the elderflower and ginger liqueurs), however there are cheaper brands out there, it just may require a little digging. The main appeal of this drink, for me, is the taste and refreshment; as I've said, sake is subtle, so the flavors that the spirit naturally possesses will mostly serve to bolster the flavor of the liqueurs, the ginger ale and the jam in this drink. The sweet, green-tea flavor of the elderflower blends perfectly with the fizzy ginger ale and the splash of bittersweetness of the ginger liqueur. The jam acts almost as a syrup in this drink, providing an overarching fruit sugar flavor that also changes the hue of the drink after being incorporated in the shaker.
It's a simple drink, it's an attractive drink and it tastes good.
Try it out and let me know what you think!
Thanks for reading.