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Friday 12 March 2010

Cocktail Hour: Shochu Lounge Martini

I think my knowledge of the hard stuff is pretty solid. I know how to make a good cocktail, and I think I can scout out the best cocktail bars in London. So it was a bit of a shock when not only did I discover a basement bar I'd never heard of, but also a spirit I'd never tried. Sluttery readers, I bring you, shochu.

Shochu Lounge
is a tiny little bar on Charlotte Street, underneath the very fancy Japanese restaurant Roka (this might explain why I've never found it, I don't really care for Japanese food). Shochu itself is a vodka-esque spirit. But there's something very sake-like about it too. It's somewhere inbetween. Made from barley, it dates back to the 14th Century. It can be flavoured, much like vodka and I thoroughly enjoyed the jasmine variety I tried.

A great twist in Shochu Lounge is that you have the option to buy a jar of the stuff. It'll set you back about £460, but it'll sit on a shelf, with your name on it, looking like your very own special potion. If you're not that flush, a cocktail will set you back about £8.50 (but there is a hefty service charge on top).

Of course, if you get hold of a bottle elsewhere (I imagine they sell it in Japanese supermarkets), here's a little recipe for a martini similar to the one I tried.

Shochu Lounge Martini

You'll need:
  • 30ml Shochu
  • 35ml Sake
  • Cucumber
Shake it! Shake the sake and shochu over ice. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the fresh cucumber. What you'll have is an interesting take on the martini, with a refreshing cucumber taste to take away any harshness.

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