From the many award-winning brands in the House of Suntory portfolio, three superb spirits set themselves apart for their sheer approachability and dynamic presence. Matching the care, quality and desirability of Suntory’s most coveted Japanese whiskies, Suntory Whisky Toki® is an innovative whisky blend and an ideal introduction to those exploring the category. Haku® Vodka, crafted from 100% Japanese white rice, sets a standard for smoothness and does not lack personality. Roku® Gin masterfully blends six Japanese botanicals for a unique, subtle taste.
In our gift guide below, these three liquids meet some of our favorite barware from Japan—all of which will step up your cocktail game.
For a long time, our trips to Japan ended with a few bottles of Roku® Gin from duty-free. Now it’s widely available in the US, and has been for two years. Perfectly balanced, the gin hits classic notes like juniper and angelica, has a mild floral hint from sakura (cherry blossoms), verdant notes from sakura leaf, gyokuro and sencha teas, citrus from yuzu peel, and pepper from sanshō. When these botanicals are at their peak, spanning all four seasons, each is distilled. When they come together with the traditional gin botanicals they present, but don’t overpower. The gin is great on its own and plays very nicely with other ingredients in a cocktail.
Koriko 2 Prong Hawthorne Strainer
A good Hawthorne strainer is essential for keeping the ice and larger ingredients out of your cocktail glass when poured from a shaker. Koriko’s Hawthorne Strainer ($16) is well balanced, has a large head and a taut spring. Strainers will let some of the ingredients through (smaller pieces of pulp or muddled herbs), but the key is to find one that lets just enough pass. It’s available in many finishes, too.
Ame Ryoku Stainless Steel Mixing Spoons
There’s plentiful value in a set of six Ame Ryoku Stainless Steel Professional Cocktail Mixing Spoons ($16). These 12-inch, helix-patterned tools begin with a teardrop and conclude with a refined oval-shaped spoon. This design allows for a tight grip and greater control when stirring spirits, ice and bitters. Having more than one, of course, makes it easier to work with multiple cocktails with different base spirits at the same time—without worrying about cleaning up in-between.
With Haku® Vodka, Suntory demonstrates their distillation prowess, delivering a clean but flavorful spirit. Produced from 100% Japanese white rice, the liquid’s finishing step is a filtration through bamboo charcoal in Osaka that strips imperfection but preserves a gentle sweet rice flavor. This dynamic premium tipple also blends well—lending a little something extra to vodka cocktails.
Higo no Kami 10 Pocket Knife
A multi-purpose knife is essential for opening boxes, removing foil, cutting citrus or herbs and so much more. Our favorite is the brass Higo no Kami 10 Pocket Knife by Nagao Seisakusho ($27), made by only one remaining knife maker, it’s a perfect addition to any bar set-up.
Kimura Glass Tumbler
Curiously charming design defines the Kimura Glass Crumple Old-Fashioned Frosted Tumbler ($63), an intentionally misshapen, translucent take on the common glass (famously used for the cocktail mentioned in its name). Designed by Makoto Komatsu, the soda-lime glass piece features a frosty exterior that adds a touch more personality to an already eccentric, high-end vessel.
“Boston” Shaker Set
Two high-quality stainless steel tins, one smaller than the other, compose the “Boston” Shaker Set ($120) from Japanese cocktail accessories brand Yukiwa. Made in the Japan, the shaker has been designed to seal tighter than others—allowing it to handle heavier ice cubes within. When snuggly together, the tin holds up to 24 ounces of cocktail components.
Suntory Whisky Toki®
A blend of whiskies from three Suntory distilleries (Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita), Suntory Whisky Toki® is an approachable, elegant spirit that embodies the values of the brand. It’s an aromatic nose that alludes to the fresh apple and citrus notes that soon tantalize the palate. The honeyed vanilla finish is long and clean. All of these attributes make it an ideal whisky for the Highball cocktail, too.
You can purchase all three superb spirits as a set from ReserveBar, or order your Haku® Vodka, Roku® Gin and Suntory Whisky Toki® (with custom engraving offered) individually from ReserveBar. To find a retailer near you and other online stores, visit the store locators at Haku® Vodka, Roku® Gin and Suntory Whisky Toki®.
Enjoy Responsibly. Haku® Vodka, 40% Alc./Vol.; Roku® Gin, 43% Alc./Vol.; Suntory Whisky Toki® Japanese Whisky, 43% Alc./Vol. ©2020 Beam Suntory Import Co., Chicago, IL
Images courtesy of respective brands