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The 'Wasabi West' (Wasabia japonica martini)

The Wasabi West
The Wasabi West - a shochu martini shaken with 100% Wasabia japonica powder... DON'T BE FOOLED BY CHEAP HORSERADISH POWDER IMITATIONS!

  • 3 oz superior shochu
  • 1 teaspoon Wasabia japonica powder
  • 1 small fresh Wasabia japonica leaf with stem

Combine shochu and Wasabia powder in mixing glass, swirl to ensure all powder is wet. Chill Martini glass with ice. Add crushed ice to mixing glass and shake ten times. Pour ice out of Martini glass. Strain mixture into glass. As a garnish, add leaf with stem resting at bottom of glass.

This is a 'savoury' cocktail served in a martini glass. It is the kind of drink that one would order before a meal to whet ones appetite, then, depending on the course, one may find the developed wasabi flavour and heat an interesting companion to the food.

Initially, there will be a thick white foam on the top of the liquid. The base is a distinctive green colour. The initial taste will be mild but refreshing. One of the really interesting things about this drink is that after several minutes, the heat and flavour intensify significantly as the ITCs develop. The powder will also settle out at the bottom of the glass, creating a darker layer below. True Wasabi lovers will want to 'eat' this residue out of the glass or it can be stirred back into the liquid with the stem of the leaf.

This interesting visual effect develops over a few minutes with the heat and flavour, and provides an interesting contrast to most drinks which become 'watery' and less flavourful over the life of the drink.

What is shochu?

Shochu is the quintessential Japanese distilled spirit. The two types are Ko and Otsu.

Ko is made mainly from molasses and is distilled several times, while otsu can be made from sweet potatoes, barley, rice, or brown sugar and is distilled only once. Ko-type shochu is flavorless and odorless, while the flavor of the ingredients remains in otsu-type shochu. Both types are popular and quite affordable, but as the flavor of otsu reflects the characteristics of the region where the drink is produced and the method of production, this is the type generally favored by shochu aficionados.

Both types use malted rice for fermentation, and depending on the brand and where it is produced, the alcohol content varies from 40 to 90 proof (20 to 45 percent ABV), although the average is around 50 proof (25% ABV).

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fresh sawa Wasabia japonica
Wasabia japonica grown in North America by Pacific Coast Wasabi (semi aquatic, sawa wasabi)
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