I deplore the word “Saketini.” The whole idea that you can name a cocktail by adding “tini” to the end of it is just plain juvenile and not creative at all. Which is not fair because I’ve been drinking a hell out of these Martinis, subbing sake for vermouth, and the name Saketini is not so far off. But still, I can’t call it that! So I’ll just leave it at, “Don’t call this a Saketini.”
The idea for this came to me when I started making a traditional Martini, which is gin, dry vermouth and bitters. I thought, why not try a really dry sake instead of vermouth?!? I’ve found that the roundness from rice, however dry a sake may be, really adds a nice texture to this drink.
For this Martini, I used Cap Rock, a gin from Colorado with a bouquet of botanicals and juniper; and Joppari honjozo, a sake that we simply call the “Daruma can” at Umami Mart, that is bone dry and works well in this drink. Honjozo is a type of sake where distilled alcohol is added to smooth out the funkier flavor profiles that sakes tend to have. You’ll want to stick to drier sakes for this Martini, not necessarily Honjozos — you’ll know a dry sake when you taste one, it will end pretty immediately on your palate.
Vermouth is a fortified wine, infused with spices and herbs. In a Martini, it adds a bit of bitterness to the palate. I wanted to emulate this so did not want to use a robust sake, especially since the gin I’m using is already so fragrant. (On the flip side, I might use a more robust sake if I were using a London Dry gin).
2oz juniper-forward gin, like Hendrik’s or Cap Rock
1oz dry sake
2 dashes of orange of yuzu bitters
1. Put two Martini glasses into the freezer.
2. Add gin and sake into your mixing glass filled with ice:
Put PLENTY of ice in the mixing glass — the height of the ice should be higher than the liquid:
3. Dash in your bitters.
4. Grab the Martini glasses from the freezer. Spear with olives with cocktail picks (get them here!).
5. Stir for 10 seconds:
Enjoy! Well, well, well, it turns out that a Saketini is exactly this: gin, sake and an olive, invented in the 1960s. So I’m not a genius who came up with this afterall! To change it up, I would add a barspoon of yellow chartreuse to this. However you slice it, don’t you dare call it a Saketini!