Saturday, February 21, 2015


The name Sakura means cherry blossom or cherry blossom tree. Naturally the name has been used in many an anime. There are characters named Sakura in Naruto, Get Backers, Street Fighter, Pokemon, and many other manga and films. There's even a popular anime called Cardcaptor Sakura, and a slightly less popular one simply called Sakura. The name tends to symbolize blooming and maturing with time. They can symbolize clouds. They bloom quickly and suddenly and die a quick death. Partly for this reason, in World War II, the image of a cherry blossom was used as national propaganda to instill Japanese pride. They were even painted on the sides of kamikaze planes. 

1 oz. Gin
1 oz. Sake
1/2 oz. Lemon juice
1/4 oz. Grenadine
1/4 oz. Cherry Heering
2 dashes cherry bitters

Add all the ingredients to a mixing tin with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry or an edible flower.

I had in my head a flavor profile I wanted to try to create. I wanted a botanical feel as well as a sweetness of a light berry. I tinkered and tinkered with different ingredients. I tried Creme Yvette, acai liqueur, shochu, soju, flavored vodka, and everything felt too dominant or tart. I decided that gin alone created a good floral feel to the drink, but the proof was too high to make it a really dominant ingredient. In the liqueur store, I saw a gorgeous bottle of sake in a lovely pink hue that reminded me of the flowers. All that was left was the berry sweetness and color. Cherry Heering added the berry note but wasn't quite sweet enough and the color was a bit dark. Most people think grenadine is cherry juice anyway and it did add just the right touch of sweetness. 

This was just a cocktail I decided to make up. There are actually several signature cocktails around the globe that take the name sakura, or cherry blossom, like this, this, this, and this.

"I want to do to you what spring does with the cherry trees."
- Pablo Neruda

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