The Wabi Sabi. A spring cocktail to symbolize the transition from winter into spring that’s made with Nigori Sake and pickled cherry blossoms. As you drink it, the white “melts” away and a cherry blossom emerges from bottom.
Springtime for Nomageddon!
Yes! It’s spring! Flowers are budding, people are out, and the birds and the bees are having sex with each other, or whatever that metaphor means. That also means we get to spend our days and evenings outside while sipping cocktails without a care in the world. Well, some cares. It is tax season. Ah well, sounds like you need a drink either way!
Here’s a recipe for a drink I’m calling The Wabi Sabi.
Ew. There’s Wasabi In It?
No. No. The Wabi Sabi! The name comes from the Japanese concept Wabi Sabi. In one interpretation, Wabi Sabi is a concept of the beauty in the impermanent. It’s that appreciation of beauty while still knowing that it’s a fleeting beauty. For example, that awe inspiring feeling you have for a brief 15 minutes while you watch the perfect sunset is Wabi Sabi. It’s that still peace you feel as you watch the snow fall and coat the world in a blanket of pure white before it gets all gross and dirty.
In Japan, Wabi Sabi is best represented in springtime Hanami Festivals when Japanese people flock to view the cherry blossoms bloom and then their petals fall.
You can read up more on Hanami Festivals and the concept of Wabi Sabi on these sites below:
So, I made this drink to symbolize the transition of winter to spring. A take on the Saketini, The Wabi Sabi is made with citron vodka, Nigori sake, and at the bottom of the glass sits a pickled cherry blossom (sakura).
What’s Nigori Sake?
Sake is rice wine. We all know that. However, there is a multitude of different types of sake and most variations of sake depend on either additives or the degree to which the grains of rice are polished. The rule of thumb is the more polished the rice than the finer the sake. However, that’s not always the case and there is even sake made from unpolished rice. That’s called Nigori Sake.
This is a bottle of nigori sake. Can you see at the bottom of the bottle there is a hard line and the contents of the bottle seem denser? Well that’s because it is. As I mentioned before, nigori sake is made of unpolished rice. That means that there are fine particulates from the rice in the drink itself, which gives it a rich, milky texture that’s really hard to demonstrate while it’s in this pink bottle.
Here’s a different bottle that I drank way before I made this cocktail. Yes, the bottle is frosted. Yes, that also makes it hard to tell what Nigori Sake looks like.
So, here it is being poured out! As you can see it has cloudy, milky appearance as opposed to sake which is clear.
Interesting, But Where Do I Get Pickled Cherry Blossoms? Also, What Are They?
Pickled sakura are preserved in salt and red plum vinegar. Relax, you’re not going to have to pickle them yourself. You can buy them at Japanese markets, Amazon, or – this is where I went – www.anything-from-japan.com.
This is a pickled sakura blossom. Pretty isn’t it? What you’re going to do is place one at the bottom of a martini glass.
Shake It. Shake. Shake It.
Now you make the drink. It’s a simple martini made with Nigori Sake and citron vodka. Fill a cocktail shaker 2/3rds of the way with ice. Add 2 1/2 ounces of citron vodka and 1 ounce of Nigori Sake and shake for 15 seconds. Strain into the glass with the pickled sakura in it and serve.
When you drink the drink, the white will slowly disappear and a flower will emerge; symbolic of the snow melting and spring flowers blooming.
There you have it. The Wabi Sabi Cocktail.
Currently Jamming To:
This recipe requires a little something special. Here’s a list of what you will need: