Liquor Laboratory

9 Best Japanese Whisky Cocktails You Should Try (2023)

Japanese Whisky Cocktails

Last Updated on December 16, 2023 by Lydia Martin

I’ve always been intrigued by the unique flavors of Japanese whisky. It’s one of the spirits with a delicate yet complex character, perfect for crafting exquisite cocktails or mixed drinks.

So, if you’re looking for something new to serve your friends at your next gathering, here are my most recommended Japanese whisky cocktails (plus their recipes) that will surely tantalize any taste buds!

Top 9 Japanese Whisky Cocktails

1. The Satsuma Smash

The Satsuma Smash

The Satsuma Smash cocktail is a fruity and refreshing mix featuring the unique flavor of satsuma oranges with a hint of mint. Try this, and you’ll see why it’s one of the favorite Japanese whisky cocktails!

“Savor the unique character of Japanese whisky, transformed into exquisite cocktails.” – Liquor Laboratory

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 7 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Japanese whisky
  • 0.5oz satsuma orange, segmented
  • 0.25oz agave syrup
  • 2-3 fresh mint leaves
  • Mint sprig, garnish

Instructions: Muddle the satsuma segments, agave syrup, and mint leaves in a shaker. Add whisky and ice, and shake well. Filter into an ice-filled rocks glass, then garnish with a mint sprig.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★★

2. Nail in the Coffin

Nail in the Coffin

Nail in the Coffin is an intriguing cocktail that melds Japanese whisky with vermouth, delivering a perfect balance of candied and bitter notes.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 7 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Japanese whisky
  • 0.5oz sweet vermouth
  • 0.5oz dry vermouth
  • 2-dashes Campari
  • Maraschino cherry

Instructions: Stir the whisky, vermouths, and bitters with icicles in a mixing glass—strain into a chilled glass and top with a cherry.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★★

3. Maple Old Fashioned

Maple Old Fashioned

A warming and rich variation of the classic Old Fashioned cocktail, Maple Old-Fashioned features the smoothness of Japanese whisky and the sweetness of maple syrup.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 7 mins

Ingredients:

Instructions: Mix the Japanese whisky (or Scotch), maple syrup, and bitters in a rocks glass. Add ice, stir until well chilled, and serve with brandied cherries.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★★

4. Tokyo Sidecar

Tokyo Sidecar cocktail

A twist on the classic sidecar, the Tokyo Sidecar cocktail blends Japanese whisky (instead of Cognac) with citrus notes for a zesty first sip with a refreshing finish.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 7 mins

Ingredients:

Instructions: Combine the whisky, orange liqueur, and juice in a cocktail shaker with icicles. Shake vigorously and filter into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with an orange peel.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

5. Toki Americano

Toki Americano

A vibrant and slightly bitter cocktail, the Toki Americano is a testament to the versatility of Japanese whisky – one of the must-try drinks while hanging out with friends!

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1.5oz Suntory Toki whisky
  • 1oz Campari
  • 1oz sweet vermouth
  • Orange slice

Instructions: Mix whisky, Campari, and sweet vermouth in a glass filled with ice. Gently stir, then garnish with an orange slice.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

6. The Beast

This Beast cocktail combines the warmth of whisky with the sweetness of honey and a sour kick.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 7 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Japanese whisky
  • 1oz sugar syrup (honey)
  • 0.5oz lime juice
  • 2-dashes bitters
  • Lemon twist

Instructions: Shake the whisky, honey syrup, lime juice, and bitters with icicles. Strain into a rocks glass filled with icicles and embellish with a lemon twist.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

7. Japanese Highball

Japanese Highball

 

A classic and refreshing drink, the Japanese Highball cocktail is a perfect showcase for the delicate character of Japanese whisky.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1.5oz Suntory whisky
  • Sparkling water (or club soda)
  • Lemon peel

Instructions: Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the whisky and top with club soda. Stir gently and adorn with a lemon peel for a citrus taste.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

8. Japanese Sour

Japanese Sour

A delightful Japanese twist on the classic Whiskey Sour, the Japanese Sour drink provides a smooth, tangy, and slightly creamy drinking experience.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 7 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Japanese whisky
  • 0.75oz lemon juice
  • 0.5oz honey (or any sugar syrup)
  • 0.5oz egg white (optional)
  • Angostura bitters

Instructions: Shake the whisky, lemon juice, honey (or sugar), and egg white with ice vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice and add a few drops of bitters.

Tip: You can use yuzu juice, making for a Yuzu Whisky Sour recipe. 

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

9. Hibiki Shiso Julep

Hibiki Shiso Julep

The Hibiki Shiso Julep whiskey cocktail is one of the most refreshing and smooth Japan-inspired whiskey cocktails. It’s a unique twist on the classic Mint Julep featuring the rich alcohol flavors of Hibiki Japanese whisky.

“Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.” – Haruki Murakami, Japanese Writer

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Hibiki Japanese whisky
  • 5-6 shiso leaves
  • 0.5oz simple syrup
  • Crushed ice
  • Shiso leaf

Instructions: Muddle shiso leaves with simple syrup, and add ice, and Hibiki whisky. Swirl and garnish with a shiso leaf.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Fun Fact: Commodore Matthew Perry introduced whiskey to Japan for the first time in 1853, and in the 1920s, Japanese distilleries started making their own [1].

Disclaimer: The ranking is based on a combination of the popularity, classic status, and uniqueness of each cocktail within the given list.

FAQs

What is good to mix with Japanese whisky?

Japanese whisky spirits blend well with a variety of drinks and mixers. Classics like soda water, sparkling water, or ginger ale are great for a refreshing highball.

For Japanese whisky cocktails, vermouth, bitters, citrus juices (like yuzu juice and blood orange juice), and syrups pair excellently, enhancing the delicious flavor profile of the whiskey [2].

What is the proper way to drink Japanese whiskies?

The beauty of Japanese whiskies is in its versatility. Enjoy it neat, with a splash of water, on the rocks, or in Japanese whisky cocktails. The key is to appreciate its unique flavors and aroma.

Final Thoughts

Trust me, exploring Japanese whisky cocktails is a delightful whiskey experience, especially when shared with your friends.

From the delicious Satsuma Smash and Nail in the Coffin cocktails to the classic Japan Highball and contemporary Maple Old Fashioned cocktails, each recipe brings out the best in this exquisite spirit.

Whether you’re a seasoned cocktail enthusiast or new to the world of Japanese whisky cocktails, I encourage you to try each recipe and discover your latest favorite.

References:

  1. https://library.brown.edu/cds/perry/Perry_Journal.html
  2. https://www.britannica.com/topic/whiskey
Lumint ad Side Bar
Flex Ad Side Bar