Cheers to the Summer - House of Suntory
Roku Gin and Haku Vodka - bottles (2 of 2).jpg
Roku Gin and Haku Vodka - bottles (1 of 2).jpg

So there’s nothing like discovering that one of your favourite whiskey brands has also created a gin and vodka - and is releasing it in your home province.

Back in April, I was at Frankfurt airport waiting to get home and decided to browse the Duty Free shops. I often do this to pick up a gift for Keith. Upon doing this, I discovered that House of Suntory, the maker of Toki - Suntory’s blended whiskey - also made a gin, named Roku! Already familiar with Toki (my house has several empty bottles now) and also being a big gin fanatic, this made me so giddy with joy. Seriously, I’m a bit of a gin nerd. So I picked up a bottle for Keith and it didn’t take long for the bottle to go empty in our house. Roku Gin contains six Japanese botanicals, including the Sakura blossom (cherry blossom, for us Westerners) - along with Yuzu peel, Sencha tea, Sansho pepper, Sakura leaf, and Gyokuro tea.

While drinking this over ice or with a tonic would be a simple yet perfect choice, I decided to create a cocktail for it. Ever since I took cocktail classes at The Diamond in Gastown (downtown Vancouver), I’ve loved creating these concoctions and serving them to my friends. Here’s one which you can try - and let me know what you think:

Roku Gin Fresher

1.5 oz Roku Gin
1 oz white vermouth
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
splash of elderflower liquer
1 egg white
splash of aromatic bitters

1. Fill a cocktail glass with ice, let it sit.

2. Then fill a shaker halfway with ice. Add egg white and shake for 10 seconds.

3. Add rest of the ingredients and shake for 15 seconds.

4. With a strainer, pour cocktail into glass, top with a slice of lime.

Here’s a cocktail for the Haku Vodka that the House of Suntory also launched in British Columbia - made from Japanese rice and unlike other vodkas I’ve had - it actually has a lovely and distinct, but subtle flavour.

Haku Vodka Spritzer

1 oz Haku Vodka
1.5 oz white vermouth
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 oz Elderflower liquer
Soda water
Twisted lemon peel garnish

1. Fill a cocktail glass with ice.

2. Add vodka, vermouth, lemon juice, elderflower liquer, and then top with soda water. Stir.

3. Garnish with lemon peel.

Roku Gin and Haku Vodka (1 of 2).jpg