Cocktail of the Week: Shinjuku

Hello, weekend: always a pleasure and never a chore to see you! We think it is high time for a cocktail, and this week we’re eyeing up the sake. Sake in cocktails is always a great idea; the ancient Japanese rice wine adds flavour and complexity to any thoughtfully crafted sip. Plus, it can can be used as a lower ABV alternative to base spirits like vodka or gin in concoctions such as martinis or sours.

We’re kind of obsessed with the Shinjuku from Toronto’s Minami. It is a beautifully balanced and aesthetically appealing signature serve from the cool King West spot, the latest addition to the Aburi Restaurants Canada group (revered for their MICHELIN-starred Aburi Hana).

Shinjuku cocktail recipe, drink pictured on the left

Voted the best designed restaurant in the Americas, Minami is a not only revered for its culinary and beverage offerings; it is a credit to Canadian architecture. Both backdrop and menu are equally Instagram-able, but you’ll also be pleased to know that there’s substance here too. Whether you or your dining partner want to snap it for the ‘gram before you sip, or you simply want to savour a fine cocktail amid stunning Art-Deco inspired surroundings, Minami’s Shinjuku is one of the most popular drinks on the menu.

Think fruity martini with a tiki tickle; the lychee liqueur cuts through the musk of the sake and the grapefruit adds a tart citrus tang. Oh, and we need to chat “fassionola“ for a hot second: it is somewhat of a long lost ingredient, created in the heyday of 1930s American tiki culture. One: it’s reddish, which makes for an eye-catching colour pop, but two: it is also a tasty delight typically blended from an assortment of tropical fruits that almost always includes passionfruit. In fact, fassionola syrup is a core component to a New Orleans hurricane (rum, lemon, fassionola).

Glassware is often the key to success when it comes to good cocktail delivery; while the classic hurricane is synonymous with its notably sexy, curved glass, the elegant martini stemware used to serve up the Shinjuku is a perfect match for the elevated schmoozey lounge vibes of the restaurant interior. The cotton candy garnish? Okay, granted the cocktail is sweet enough without it, but it really does reflect the dreamy mottled pink of the feature light wall.

Looking to order another drink? We don’t blame you! Also notable is the Shiso Pineapple Lavendar Gimlet with Dillon’s Gin, pineapple, lavender, yuzu and shiso syrup — so much yum. Cheers!