Loyalty, honour, and a stiff upper lip. For centuries, nobody had conducted proper SWOT analyses of the Bushido code, nor did anyone set reasonable katana-slashing KPIs. Clearly, there’d been a lack of samurai entrepreneurism on Tsushima. Until Jin Sakai came along. The old ways came tumbling down, as the Mongols trembled in their cowhide boots. The ghost was adamant to reclaim his home. Washing away battle fatigue and social inhibition with sake, he pushed onwards…
Ghost of Tsushima is my personal GOTY 2020, if not for its tailored gameplay and lovely landscapes, then for its quiet moments. This memorable vignette shows Jin and Yuna (a badass and Jin’s repressed love interest) sharing sake and stories the night before a Mongol assault. The drink is also referenced in other quests, interludes, and environmental props. There’s even a sake brewery on the island (historical accuracy breakdown here). And who can forget the comic relief of Kenji, the island’s sake hustler? Point is, the fermented rice is strong on Tsushima. And so, my tribute cocktail just had to feature sake!
My recipe ideation went a bit like:
Sake! Wasn’t easy to find in Lithuania, but I used dry Choya Sake for this. For 100% authenticity, try acquiring a bottle from around Tsushima. Apparently, there’s also a limited-edition GoT sake announced by Playstation UK..? Anyway, go for a clear sake.
Gin! I mean… Jin Sakai = Gin Sake, right? 😀 I’d iterated with London Dry at first, but Roku Gin really made my palate sing. It features Japanese botanicals such as: sakura flower, yuzu peel, sencha tea, sansho pepper, sakura leaf, and gyokuro tea. A blend much closer to Jin’s home.
Orange Liqueur! Brainstorming about sakura, rose and orange blossoms led me to a bottle of Cointreau. You can use any other triple sec, but I’d leave it to Cointreau to really elevate a cocktail. And thus, this also paved the way for final garnishes.
(By the way, these are not sponsored posts! Just my opinions.)
So let’s start mixing this samurai mix.
60 ml (2 oz) Sake
45 ml (1.5 oz) Japanese Gin
10 ml (0.3 oz) Orange Liqueur
Garnish: Nori, Orange Peel
- Cut out a triangle or a strip of nori. Dampen it to stick it alongside the outer part of a cocktail glass. I chose thinner nori snacks instead of sushi nori. If the sea smell is off-putting to you, skip this garnish.
- Pre-chill the cocktail glass and a mixing glass in the freezer.
- Pour sake, gin, and orange liqueur into the mixing glass. Add a large ice block and stir until cold. Try not to break the ice (too much).
- Strain into the cocktail glass, using a julep strainer.
- Peel a 4-5 cm orange peel. Twist it over the cocktail to express the citrus oils.
- Garnish with a different orange peel of your creative choice.
- Compose your thoughts.
- Compose a haiku.
- Enjoy the saketini and reflect on:
- Why petting foxes is so zen.
- Which foliage makes the best pics.
Suggested Sipping Soundtrack:
Soak your ears in Tsushima’s hot springs:
Can’t help vibing to Japanese lo-fi beats, all day any day:
Thanks for joining my mixology clan! And if you find yourself slowly equipping the Fundoshi armor… just embrace it. It’s like Jin-after-too-much-sake said: “A true samurai needs no clothes.”
Keeping up with my other game cocktails? 🙂