Food & Drinks

When Japanese Influence Meets Bourbon Cocktails

All summer, New Yorkers longed for the arrival of fall and all the upcoming season has to offer. But the word “fall” doesn’t do enough to sum up the breath of relief the city feels after the humid heat of August, the way the light and the outfits evolve or the wonder at the colored leaves.

As the weather changes, let’s take inspiration from the Japanese. Instead of four seasons, in Japan, there are 72 microseasons called . Lasting five days each, each of these microseasons is tailor-made for wondering at the beauty of nature. They were initially based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar, but in 1685, court astronomer Shibukawa Shunkai rewrote them to be specific to the climate of Japan. The microseasons regard the shifting weather as poetic, from when the dew glistens white on the grass on September 8 during Hakuro to when maple leaves and ivy turn yellow on November 2 during Sōkō

They remind us that while life may feel like it’s standing still, the world is indeed slowly turning and changing, from the first falling leaves to the first frost. In Japan, there are a number of fall festivals, like Tsukimi, which celebrates the harvest moon with traditional dances and seasonal dishes. In New York, our fall may not rely on nature but rather on when we switch from iced to hot coffee, don our favorite sweaters and run toward (or away from) signs for pumpkin spice. Is there a more New York way to celebrate how far we’ve come, and where we’re going, than with a drink?

To celebrate all of the little things that make fall in New York special, start with an Old-Fashioned cocktail made with Legent’s Japanese-inspired bourbon. Created by whiskey legends Fred Noe and Shinji Fukuyo, Legent marries American tradition with the Japanese craft of blending whiskey, opening the Southern classic up to new possibilities. It begins with a classic Kentucky bourbon, which is then aged in select white oak barrels and sherry and red wine casks, developing a complex, rich flavor before being masterfully blended for a bright, long finish. 

What better way to savor the time between the heat of summer and the chill of fall than with a warming, spicy and rich Legent Old-Fashioned? Here, Legent’s Japanese-inspired takes on the Old-Fashioned pull inspiration from the sea, ginger and tea, yielding briny, spicy and bitter variations of the classic cocktail. Each has an intentional, elevated garnish, and each new ingredient draws out the coconut, caramel, dried fruit and spice flavors of the bourbon. So pour one to revel in each moment of the season as it’s happening—after all, it’ll be winter before we know it.

When to drink: When the first fall storm passes over the Hudson.
Serving: 1

INGREDIENTS
2 parts Legent Bourbon
1/2 part salted honey syrup (see Editor’s Note)
3 dashes Angostura bitters or to taste
3 dashes orange bitters or to taste

Garnish: nori (dried edible seaweed) 

DIRECTIONS
1. Stir all ingredients with ice.
2. Strain into a glass over ice.
3. Carefully roll and skewer a piece of nori with a cocktail pick and garnish.

EDITOR’S NOTE
Honey Syrup
6 ounces raw honey
2 ounces water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Put honey, water and salt into a saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until the salt and honey have dissolved. Cool before using.

When to drink: The first night you wish you had a fireplace.
Serving: 1

INGREDIENTS
2 parts Legent Bourbon
1/4 part Punt e Mes
1/4 part chai tea syrup (see Editor’s Note)

Garnish: toasted marshmallow 

DIRECTIONS
1. Stir all ingredients with ice.
2. Strain into a glass over ice.
3. Using a candle or a kitchen blowtorch, carefully toast a marshmallow on a cocktail pick and garnish.

EDITOR’S NOTE
Chai Syrup
4 bags chai-spice tea
8 ounces boiling water
8 ounces sugar

Brew tea bags in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and add sugar. Stir to dissolve and cool before using.

When to drink: When you’re craving a spice that isn’t pumpkin.
Serving: 1

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 parts Legent Bourbon
1/2 part sake
1/4 part Tempus Fugit Kina L’Aéro d’Or
1/4 part Monin Ginger Syrup

Garnish: green tea ice sphere (see Editor’s Note)

DIRECTIONS
1. Stir all ingredients with ice.
2. Strain into a glass over the green tea ice sphere.

EDITOR’S NOTE
Green tea ice sphere
1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder
1 3/4 cups hot water 

Add a little of the water to the matcha and whisk to form a paste. Add the remainder of the water and whisk until matcha is fully incorporated and there are no lumps. Pour the matcha into an ice sphere mold and freeze.

Branded Content Editor: Lee Musho



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