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Properly Sauced: Union Sushi + BBQ Bar's Yamato Sling

By Roger Kamholz in Food on Jul 20, 2011 7:20PM

2011_7_YamatoSling.jpgToday marks day one of Tales of the Cocktail New Orleans, a yearly celebration of cocktail history and culture. There are seminars, drinks, dinners and more drinks. The five-day exercise in revelry has lured a number of our city's finest bartenders from their normal posts. And while we certainly haven't been left to totally fend for ourselves - many establishments have been entrusted to able lieutenants and special guests - it seems like a great time to practice a little self-preservation. And by that we mean introducing a new cocktail into our domestic repertoire.

The Yamato Sling comes courtesy of Union Sushi + BBQ Bar, whose cocktail menu impressed us on the River North restaurant's opening night, back in May. We discovered the Yamato Sling on a subsequent visit and found it perfectly suited to help tolerate the sweltering heat we're being forced to endure these days. It's light, bubbly, slightly dry, very refreshing and darn easy to make - all crucial traits of a successful summertime drink.

The cocktail borrows its name from Japan's Yamato Period (250 - 710 AD), during which sake is said to have been invented; interestingly though, Union's recipe calls not for a Japanese sake, but an American one. Rock Sake, made in Oregon, is one of a very small, but growing, number of new sakes produced by U.S. brewers. Could the Yamato Sling be a profound nod to the past coupled with a telling glimpse into the future? Who knows - it's far too hot for deep thinking like that. Another round should do the trick.

Yamato Sling

1 1/2 ounces Plymouth Gin (Broker's works well, too)
3/4 ounce Rock Sake (we used the junmai daiginjo)
3/4 ounce lemon
1 ounce green tea syrup
1 dropper Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters

To make green tea syrup, combine a 1/2 cup of water, a 1/2 cup of sugar and one green tea bag in a saucepan and simmer until sugar dissolves (makes enough syrup for about two drinks). Let syrup cool.

Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice and shake lightly. Strain into a tall Collins glass filled nearly to the top with ice cubes. Top with soda water. Optional: garnish with a blade of lemongrass.

Union Sushi + BBQ Bar is located at 230 West Erie Street.