Home Cocktails 10 Classic Japanese Cocktails

10 Classic Japanese Cocktails

These Japanese cocktails are so exotic and fun!

I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese culture and food, and it’s somewhere I hope to visit one day. 

Until then, I’ll use these delicious drinks to help bring a small part of its beauty and charm home with me. 

Refreshing Cognac Japanese Cocktail
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We’ll need to stock up on saké, naturally, and good quality matcha powder. 

But did you know that the Japanese have a rich whiskey history?

One distillery even imports Scottish water to make theirs as authentic as possible!

Don’t forget to pour your guests’ drinks first, but I think we can forgo the custom of never drinking alone. 

1. Sake Grapefruit Cocktail

Saké is a type of wine made by fermenting rice. It’s clear, light, slightly sweet, and around 14-16% alcohol. 

There are a few varieties, like Honjozo, which is very smooth, Nigori, which is almost creamy, and Shiboritate, which tastes like fruity white wine. 

As this cocktail includes grapefruit juice, it’s best to choose a sweeter saké to help balance it out. 

2. Tokyo Mule Recipe

This cocktail is a twist on the classic Moscow mule, which is made using vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. It’s zesty, a little sweet, and wonderfully warm.

You’ll stick with vodka here, but the recipe also calls for cucumber juice, saké, and ginger syrup. 

Of course, you can stick with ginger beer if it’s easier.

Although, I would recommend ginger ale since it will give you the same excellent ginger taste, but none of the alcohol. 

Between the vodka and saké, you should have more than enough. 

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3. Matcha Mint Julep

Although matcha was initially made in China, Japan has spent over 800 years perfecting it.

The best quality matcha takes time and a lot of love to make, which is why it’s so expensive.

Matcha can taste bitter, nutty, floral, and even buttery in some cases. It’s all about how you use it. 

In this case, as it’s mixed with mint, you get a lot of vegetal notes. But those are balanced perfectly with brown sugar and sweet bourbon. 

4. Matcha Gin Fizz

One of the most unique ingredients in this Japanese cocktail is date syrup.

Many cocktails use simple syrup, as sugar enhances flavor, just like salt. But it’s not the best in terms of calories. 

Dates have long been used to provide natural sweetness, and they offer a distinct caramel taste. 

To make the syrup, just gently boil the dates in water and then strain the pulp away.

You’ll need to mash it a bit as it cooks to release all the juices. 

5. A Yuzu Cocktail Recipe

Yuzu is a type of citrus fruit that we cannot grow in the States.

Many people liken it to a cross between lime, lemon, and grapefruit, meaning it’s pretty intense.

The fruit looks like a yellow lime, but the flavor is far sourer. 

The fruit isn’t even allowed to be imported (something about protecting US crops from potential diseases), so you’ll have to find the juice, which is available online or in many Asian markets.

This drink is perfect for gin lovers as the tartness of the yuzu plays wonderfully against the flavor of the alcohol. 

6. Japanese Whisky Ginger Highball

A highball cocktail is typically a mixed drink with a higher ratio of the mixer than the alcohol. In this case, it’s ginger beer and Japanese whiskey. 

Like I mentioned before, Japanese whiskey is world-renowned, and they take great pride in it.

So, if you can find authentic Japanese whiskey, please splurge!

That said, you may need to look around. So, in a pinch, your favorite Scotch will do the trick. 

But this isn’t just whiskey and ginger beer. You’ll also add a dash of Angostura bitters used to bring the flavors out and add depth to your drinks.

If you don’t have any, just add lemon or lime juice. It won’t have the same intensity, but the citrus will help a great deal.

7.  Raspberry Saké Tea Cocktail

If you’re a lover of spiked tea, this is the cocktail for you. 

Not only is it fruity and stunningly vibrant, but it’s smooth, sweet, and so easy to whip up. This would be the perfect thing to serve at your next BBQ. 

The recipe suggests you use raspberry flavored tea bags, but it’s easy enough to make your own with black tea and fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries.

That way, you control how sweet or tart it is. 

8. Japanese Slipper

This classic drink is made with Midori, Cointreau, and lemon juice. It’s so easy!

Midori is a wonderfully under-used melon liqueur that’s very sweet and almost candy-like in taste. Since it’s so sweet, it’s not typically consumed on its own. 

Instead, it’s used in drinks like this, where there are enough citrus and tart flavors to help balance it out. 

Funnily enough, this cocktail was first made in Melbourne, and the origin of the name is unknown.

9. Spicy Matcha Margaritas Recipe

I was so excited to try this cocktail; I had to step away from the keyboard the minute I read it. 

Margaritas are one of my all-time favorite drinks, and when you add jalapeńos to the mix, I’m a goner. 

But what I loved most was the use of matcha in here. It’s just enough to give you a slightly grassy taste, and the color is fantastic. 

10. Tokyo Mary

There are a few stories of how the Bloody Mary got its name, and some are even more complex than the drink itself. 

Full of vodka and tomato juice, an authentic Bloody Mary cocktail should also include Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic, herbs, horseradish, celery, olives, salt, black pepper, lemon juice, lime juice, and celery salt.

Phew! That’s why most places use Bloody Mary mixes rather than adding all of that by hand. 

The Tokyo Mary is just as bold and even spicier, thanks to the use of wasabi.

It has a different kind of spice, but it’s known to fade much faster than chili peppers.

That means you can enjoy this drink for longer, as the spice won’t linger on your tongue.

10 Classic Japanese Cocktails

Get a taste of Japan with these classic Japanese cocktails! From the Tokyo mule to the matcha gin fizz to sake cocktails, these drinks are sure to delight!


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  • Prep a Japanese cocktail in 30 minutes or less!
Japanese Cocktails

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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