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Saketini is the name of a cocktail that uses sake and other ingredients such as simple syrups, distilled spirits, liqueurs, juices and garnishes. The name saketini comes from the recent and popular usage of the suffix "-tini", derived from the name for the classic cocktail, the martini, to denote any alcoholic drink that is served chilled in a cocktail glass.
It is rumored that the saketini came into being when chef Matsuda San, arriving in Queens for the World's Fair in 1964, unveiled a primitive version of the cocktail. The original recipe for this drink was lost until later Matsuda resurfaced at Clodagh Design Showroom in the early 90s to serve the world of design his original saketini.
Preceding the resurgence in popularity of the martini in the early 2000s, people began using sake as a mixer in cocktails. Many modern twists on the traditional martini recipe have been made including the introduction of vodka to replace gin as the main ingredient, flavored martinis such as the appletini, the cosmopolitan and the saketini. Saketini is also the name of a popular restaurant in Los Angeles California that serves Asian food.
Some purist martini drinkers feel the saketini is another insult to the integrity of their beloved classic cocktail. Others, such as Lucy Brennan, the world renowned mixologist, approve of the saketini wholeheartedly and have adapted and concocted many recipes with the addition of sake. Hiroaki Aoki the founder of Benihana restaurants says in his book Sake Water From Heaven that "if a cocktail made with sake is pleasing to the palate, why should tradition stand in the way of progress?"
There are some ongoing disputes as to the original saketini recipe. Provided below is an example of the recipe using more traditional gin, which can be replaced by vodka if desired.
Basic Gin Saketini
- 2.5 oz. Gin
- 1.5 tsp. Sake
- 1 cocktail olive
In shaker half filled with ice cubes, combine gin with sake, stir well, strain and serve in chilled martini glass. Garnish with olive.
- Griffith Frost and John Gauntner Sake Pure and Simple p. 110 reference to sake cocktails
- Rocky Aoki with Pierre A. Lehu Sake Water From Heaven p. 108 sake cocktail recipes and statement