While the rest of the world is only just catching on to the fragrant, flavorful wonders of yuzu, Japan has long been singing its praises. Now, thanks to Tokyo’s latest craft drink, Kimino Yuzu, you can enjoy the citrus superfruit as a sparkling drink as well as a range of original cocktails.
Using just three ingredients – freshly squeezed yuzu juice from hand-picked fruits, sparkling water from Aichi Prefecture, and a hint of organic sugar – this is the first beverage to be created by Kimino, a new Tokyo-based company that’s on a mission to put a modern spin on traditional Japanese flavors. (And if you look closely at the the bottle’s label, you’ll also notice the modern spin on the katakana for “kimino.”)
To ensure you get the most intense flavor and aroma, the whole fruit is used when extracting the juice – and as any health-conscious Tokyoite knows, yuzu is packed with vitamin C and polyphenols so the purer, the better. As for the taste, it’s a delicate play between sour citrus and not-too-sweet sugar, which is further balanced by the refreshing sparkling water.
Where to taste it? The drink is on offer at selected restaurants in Japan (and the rest of Asia), but for the perfect summer sundowner, stop by their pop-up bar, Kimino Aoyama. It’s set away from the crowds in a quiet corner of Commune 246, and boasts a cozy wooden rooftop terrace with a long table, crates for chairs, and the promise of summer festivities.
For those who like an extra kick to their drink, the original shaken cocktails all use Kimino Yuzu as a mixer, and were created in collaboration with Rogerio Igarashi Vaz from Bar Trench. We tried the Yuzu Shiso cocktail, a crisp, herbaceous mix with vodka and the Japanese shiso herb (find the recipe on Kimino’s website).
The food menu is just as focused on finding new ways of presenting Japanese ingredients, and health-seeking French-fry lovers will relish the gobo (burdock root) chips served with an original yuzu mayonnaise.
Also be sure to try the Kimino Teba, a dish of breaded chicken wings served in a lip-smacking homemade spicy yuzu sauce; and the yuzu rice burger, which features breaded chicken breast in spicy yuzu sauce sandwiched between a crisped rice “bun.”