Japanese Cocktail


Despite its name, the Japanese Cocktail is not, in fact, Japanese. Nor does it contain any Japanese ingredients. I don’t know if it is even available in Japan (although if anyone wants to fund a research trip, I’m up for it; with its hint of marzipan balanced by oaky brandy, this well-balanced, aromatic drink is rather moreish). Apparently it was the first cocktail on record to have a name that does not reflect its ingredients – David Wondrich explains its origins here – and now it can boast that it’s the first brandy-based drink to grace these pages, too.


1 piece lemon peel

60ml brandy

15ml orgeat

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Lemon twist, for garnish


Cocktail or coupe


Muddle the lemon peel in a mixing glass. Add ice and the remaining ingredients. Stir until chilled and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.


This elegant concoction is much easier to make than it is to say ‘elegant concoction’ three times fast after you’ve had a few.


This version appears in Asian Cocktails – Creative Drinks Inspired by the East by Holly Jennings and Christine LeBlond (Tuttle, 2009).

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