Aki’s Tea

Aki’s Tea cocktail by Reece Sims. Reece Sims photos

The Audience Choice winner at Vancouver Cocktail Week‘s Fun City Gala, this cocktail is inspired by Aki Restaurant, which opened in Vancouver in 1963 and was the first Japanese-Canadian owned Japanese restaurant in Vancouver. 

Born in Steveston, Richmond, a young Aki Takeuchi and his family fled to Osaka, Japan, early in the Second World War, avoiding the internment camps. He returned to Canada as an adult, settling in Vancouver.

When Takeuchi opened Aki Restaurant he was the first to bring authentic Japanese food to Vancouver. At the time, the few other Japanese restaurants in existence only served cooked food and were more like a Chinese-Japanese fusion style of cuisine. Takeuchi was the first to serve raw fish in his restaurant.

The restaurant could not obtain a liquor license and so they would hide saké in teapots. This cocktail celebrates Japanese culture in Vancouver with a Japanese Gin, Saké and tea-focused drink.

• 1.5 oz Masahiro Okinawa Gin

• 1.0 oz Kuramoto Secret Yuzu Saké

• 0.75 oz Lemon Juice

• 2.0 oz Oolong Peach Tea 

• 0.5 oz Simple Syrup

• Bittered Sling Clingstone Peach Bitters

• Garnish: Sliced hawthorne berry, dried rosebud and dried jasmine tea

 Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds until chilled. Serve over 1 ice cube in a traditional Japanese Tea Cup. Add dry ice to the teapot to simulate steam from the “hot tea.” 

—by Reece Sims

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