Taste of Autumn: Mountain and Ocean delicacies and a special Negroni|Suntory ROKU × Mifune New York

The sky above New York's skyscrapers is bright blue as Autumn slowly turns Central Park's trees a golden hue. New York's gastronomers enjoy the flavors of the season along with a perfect drink. On the New York bar scene, the popularity of gin is rising along with that of whiskey, bourbon and vodka. ROKU, a craft gin from Japan stands out with a particular character among other spirits. How is this unusual gin, which is made with unique Japanese botanicals, received in New York, a city which like Japan, has four seasons?

Premium Craft Gin "ROKU" with Elements of Japanese Flavors

A Stylish Hexagonal Bottle Design Inspired by 6 Kinds of Botanicals.

For many years, bourbon and whiskey were the primary distilled liquors found in the United States.  However, in recent years, consumer interest in the production process as risen, leading to a deeper appreciation and favoring of craft spirits.  Among these, certain brands have become a hot topic among mixologists. One is ROKU, a craft gin that was created from collaboration with Beam Suntory. Mainstream brands of gin feature mostly standard botanical scents that gin is generally known for such as juniper berries. ROKU however, is made with six kinds of botanicals that are unique to Japan: cherry blossom flowers, cherry blossom leaves, sencha green tea, gyokuro green tea, sansho pepper, and yuzu citrus. The result is a refined and delicate Japanese texture that is not found in regular gin and has thus attracted attention in New York.

ROKU, a special cocktail for early autumn with an addictive mellowness

“ROKU x Dry Negroni”. A refreshing bitter citrus and a smooth yogurt harmoniously blended with ROKU.

Mifune New York, located in Midtown Manhattan, is a restaurant where you can enjoy a cocktail that uses ROKU.

Named in honor of the late actor Toshiro Mifune, this elegant Japanese restaurant opened in 2017. It is known as a restaurant where one can enjoy high-quality Japanese cuisine using seasonal ingredients, a wide selection of sake, and a variety of innovative cocktails. Located near the United Nations headquarters, it is popular with diplomats and foreign dignitaries as well as local New York business people. Mr. Shingo Gokan serves as an advisor to the restaurant, helping to develop its cocktails. A top prizewinner at the 2012 Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition , Shingo is known as one of the foremost mixologists in the world. He has created numerous superb cocktails that have won him many fans both inside and outside Japan. ROKU X Dry Negroni, his latest creation, was inspired by New York's autumn. The idea began with Negroni, a popular cocktail, well known for it's bitter taste that uses dry gin and the Italian liquor Campari. In Gokan's version, Campari's bitterness is dampened by first washing it with yogurt. This also adds a sense of mellowness. This filtration process also notably dilutes away the red color of the Campari liquor. The addition of Campari, which has a significantly rounded taste, brings out the harmony of Roku's yuzu citrus in combination with it's spicy sansho pepper notes. The resulting flavor creates a refreshing taste in the mouth that reminds one of New York's autumn sky. This adds smoothness and depth to regular Negroni, resulting in an impressive cocktail. 

"ROKU x Dry Negroni" recipe
30ml of ROKU
20ml of Campari washed with yogurt
20 ml of Martini Dry
*Garnish with an orange peel

Mountain and Ocean delicacies and ROKU create harmony

Flavor for New York Autumn: a simple salad of squid and cauliflower with apples.

The restaurant's executive chef, Yuu Shimano, creates a "green salad" which combines grilled squid, green apple, and cauliflower,  to create a dish that with its vivid colors, almost seems like an abstract painting. 

“In this pairing, I thought of matching the cocktail with the sweetness of the squid and the creaminess of cauliflower,” says Shimano. 

He gently cuts lines into the squid, lightly sears it, adding warm cauliflower and thinly sliced green apple. Olive oil, black pepper and a beautiful green sauce made with turnip leaves provide seasoning. The crispy texture and sweet and sour taste of the green apple spreads in the mouth, and the sweetness of the squid and creamy texture of the cauliflower harmoniously blends together. 

The moderate sourness of apples and the spiciness of black pepper beautifully compliments ROKU's yuzu and sansho pepper notes.  Chef Shimano was formerly a chef de padre at "Guy Savory," a three-star restaurant in Paris. A specialist in French-Japanese fusion cuisine, Shimano incorporates the fine cooking methods he cultivated in France into his menu. One of those is Mi Cuit ("half-cooked") a French cooking technique in which the outside of the food is seared, while the inside of the food remains moist and juicy. It is this technique that Shimano uses to prepare the squid, creating a cooked texture on the outside, but with the sweetness and soft texture of sashimi within. This creates a beautiful, mellow pairing to compliment the cocktail "ROKU X Dry Negroni's" rich taste.

Mifune's busy kitchen, where young junior chefs are in constant motion around the center, Chef Shimano

The apple is cut paying attention to the amount of juice released when eaten.

Continuing to develop recipes that use Japanese elements

Mr. Shimano, Executive Chef. His greatest tool is an unwavering Japanese spirit that always shines through while creating dishes with diverse elements.

The aromas of both the food and spirit from this Paring conjures up a nostalgic feeling for many Japanese. "When I was cooking the squid, I put a few drops of soy sauce on top and when I smelled that, I thought this is a very 'Mifune' taste," said Shimano. In New York, where innovation and fusion cooking are always popular, people are often receptive to new trends.  Mifune stands out among them with its own characteristics. Shimano, who is very meticulous but flexible in his fusion techniques, is a perfect match for ROKU, which is also artfully created with great care using distinct Japanese ingredients. Even when enjoyed in a foreign country, far from their origins, Mifune and ROKU create harmony and balance together.  Soon the golden light of autumn will turn to the shimmer and silver of winter, and as the holiday season arrives, the warmth and joy of these innovative tastes will continue to glow and sparkle.

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 & Text by Kayoko Ogawa

更新: 2019年10月17日