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Impress with an Oriental touch this Valentine’s Day

By Bring a Bottle on 13/02/17 3:02 PM

A competition challenging bartenders at Tsunami group to create Japanese inspired cocktails for Valentine’s Day has unveiled three romantic creations.

To create their recipes, the mixologists were given either Halewood Wines & Spirits’ J.J. Whitley Elderflower Gin, J. J. Whitley Rhubarb Vodka or Marylebone Gin, the new overproof gin by The Pleasure Gardens Distilling Company. These top three winning recipes will feature on the special Valentine’s menu at both Tsunami in Clapham and Yama Momo in Dulwich from Tuesday 14th to Saturday 18th February.

For white chocolate lovers, Natalie Birbeck created the Lustful Lantern, inspired by White Day in Japan, which is a month after Valentine’s Day and when gentlemen bestow gifts of white chocolate on loved ones. Kuba Kostur created Biyaku, meaning aphrodisiac in Japanese, which is inspired by the Japanese custom of women giving homemade chocolates to men on Valentine’s Day to symbolise true love. And Pavel Spasov created Tokeru Ai, meaning melting love, which uses traditional Japanese ingredients that enhance the citrus grapefruit already distilled in the Marylebone Gin.

First place:  Lustful Lantern by Natalie Birbeck (Tsunami Group)


A lustful cocktail based on elderflower gin and inspired by white day in Japan. It releases the flavours of elderflower… using strawberry infused Japanese whisky, natural yogurt liqueur, honey, a touch of golden syrup and sprinkled with love.

45ml J.J Whitley Elderflower Gin
15ml Strawberry Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky
5ml Golden Syrup
15ml Honey Reduction
1 x dash Plum Bitters
35ml Greek Yogurt Liqueur

Shake ingredients and strain into a Coupette glass. Sprinkle with edible glitter

Second place:  Biyaku (Japanese for aphrodisiac) by Kuba Kostur


Inspired by aphrodisiac fruits, this sensual and refreshing cocktail has flavours of passionfruit liqueur, homemade cherry and pomegranate compote, a hint of vanilla, sprayed with Pedro Ximenez Sherry and served with burning sandalwood.

50 ml J.J. Whitley Rhubarb Vodka
15 ml Passion fruit liquor
1 dash Rhubarb bitters
1 dash Grapefruit bitters
40 ml Rhubarb, Cherry and Pomegranate compote
25 ml Lime juice
15 ml Chickpeas water
10 ml Vanilla sugar
Spray of Pedro Himenez Sherry on top

A homemade chocolate and pomegranate slate
Slice of dragon fruit with sandal wood
Edible flowers on the bottom of the glass

Shake and strain ingredients into a champagne glass, place chocolate and pomegranate on top of glass.

Third place:  Tokeru Ai (Melting Love) by Pavel Spasov


A sweet citrus cocktail based on Marylebone Gin, umeshu and a hint of grapefruit. The floral overtones are highlighted through the use of a homemade Yuzu and Rose sorbet stirred inside.

50ml Marylebone Gin
25ml Rose and Yuzu syrup
20ml Umeshu
Juice from grapefruit slice
Sorbet on a side (made with rose water, rose jam, yuzu sake, yuzu juice, sugar syrup and orange and lemon zest)

Place a long grapefruit peel into premium wine glass and layer ingredients over. Garnishing with the flowers and rose petals.