Food and craft gin pairing with a top mixologist and an up-and-coming chef|Suntory ROKU × Mifune New York

New York is a city where food cultures from all over the world gather. Distilled spirits have recently captivated NY restaurant-goers. The most frequently consumed spirits in the United States are Bourbon and Rye Whiskey, but Gin has recently also secured a strong presence in the New York bar scene. The Japanese craft gin ROKU came to the US in 2017. At Mifune New York, a popular Japanese restaurant in Manhattan, a unique cocktail using ROKU and seasonal creative dishes make summer dining in the city even more attractive.

Japan's first premium craft gin, ROKU, stimulates the creative mind of mixologists.

Born in the Netherlands in the middle of the 17th century, Gin originally came to the United States from Great Britain. Gin has long been enjoyed as a cocktail base. But now, the world is in the midst of a spirits boom.  Here in New York, the momentum has increased year by year, and the market has become even more popular, with a growing number of female fans.  The craft gin ROKU from Japan has particularly become a hot topic among mixologists. The appeal is a Japanese style not found in traditional gin. Unlike other gin, ROKU contains six ingredients representing the four seasons of Japan: sakura cherry blossom, gyokuro tea, sencha tea, sansho pepper and yuzu citrus fruit.  What kind of new cocktails will be created here in NY using this unique spirit, "ROKU?"

Midsummer Roku cocktail with a fresh tomato aroma

The Japanese restaurant Mifune New York is located in Midtown East near the United Nations. Named for the late Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, who was also well known in the US, Mifune New York opened in 2017. It quickly gained popularity for it's young Japanese chef's' sophisticated and creative interpretation of Japanese cuisine. Shingo Gokan is a mixologist who serves as an advisor to the restaurant.  Gokan won the 2012 Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition, earning global recognition for his creative cocktails. This time, he made a special cocktail, ROKU X Sweet Tomato using ROKU as a base, then added highly purified tomato water made by filtering fresh tomatoes grown in the countryside along with homemade tomato jam. When you sip the finished cocktail, the botanical aroma of ROKU brilliantly intertwines with the aroma of the tomatoes, resulting in a refreshing feeling. This is a drink suitable for a New York summer. It has a moderate sweet and sourness coupled with the impressive freshness of botanical notes. 

ROKU X Sweet Tomato Recipe

ROKU      30ml
Tomato Water  60ml
Tomato jam   1 teaspoon
Lemon Juice    5ml
Salt rim
*garnished with bazil and cherry tomato.

Pairing foie gras and ROKU, creating a deep and long finish

Playing with contrasts, executive Chef Yuu Shimano devised an original and amusing foie gras. It uses foie gras from New York's Hudson Valley made with Haccho miso. Tomato chips dried for a long period at a low temperature are added to the middle to provide texture.  The foie gras complements the cherry blossoms in the ROKU  aroma. As a mousse, it remains on your tongue for a long time. Combined with “ROKU x Sweet Tomato”, the fragrance of a slightly burnt tomato plays in the mouth along with the sweetness of the foie gras, and at the same time, gradually spreads out with the ROKU Japanese botanical. The biggest surprise is the rice flour ball in the middle. The crisp texture is well balanced with the middle, while at the same time increasing the affinity with the cherry aroma. Although at first glance, these ingredients do not seem like they would complement each other at all, they end up as wonderful combinations that bring out the charms of Japanese and Western cuisine, thanks to the sensitivity of Shimano. The visual image created in the end is actually that of an American hamburger. It is important to enjoy not just the taste of the food, but also it's appearance. 

New creations with a frontier spirit

Chef Shimano began his career specializing in creative French & Japanese dishes. At the the Michelin 3-star restaurant “Guy Savoy” in Paris, he gained acclaim as a new talent while serving as the main chef de Pardi. "I'm good at pairing with wine and sake, but actually, pairing with gin was a challenge," he says. “I was worried that ROKU's charm is botanical. I made cocktails many times, subtracting different flavors, taking into account the wine pairing theory I learned during my time in France.”  Shimano's approach mirrors the secret story behind the creation of ROKU itself.  Suntory founder Shinjiro Torii often said to his staff: “Do it!” Inspired by these words, ROKU was born after much trial and error. In New York, where innovation and originality are preferred, creators can not stop. The gem of gems is finally completed after repeated mistakes and challenges. Two years later, ROKU rides a strong momentum while young Japanese innovators like Shimano and Gokan make strides among the fierce competition of New York.  Looking forward to seeing what kind of new combinations will move us in the future. 

Mifune New York

Mifune New York

245 East 44th Street. New York 10017
+1(212) 986-2800
Lunch:Mon~Fri 11:30-14:30(L.O 14:00) Dinner:Mon~Fri 18:00-23:30、Sun 18:00-23:30(L.O 22:30)

Photographs by Takako Ida, Text by Kayoko Ogawa

更新: 2019年8月6日