• June 15, 2017

Cocktail of the Week: Oryza 75

Alexis Jesup
By Eric Twardzik

This playful reimagining of the French 75 is brought to us by PAGU, the Central Square tapas restaurant serving up a mix of Spanish and Japanese cuisines. While its inspiration is made with gin and Champagne, the Oryza rendition swaps those staples for shochu and sparkling sake. The two rice-based spirits explain the moniker: Oryza sativa (pronounced “oh-rye-zah”) is the scientific name for Spanish rice.

The lemon juice called for in a French 75 is replaced with lime at PAGU to better counteract the sugar in this version, and it’s all finished off with four direct dashes of Peychaud’s bitters before serving.

“By floating [the bitters] on top, [the drink] starts more bitter and gets sweeter as it goes—and more refreshing,” says bar manager Mitch Marsman. “So the cocktail is constantly evolving as you’re drinking it.”

The final product is bright, acidic, and ridiculously refreshing. One advantage is the relative lightness of the booze: PAGU uses Chiyonosono 8000 Generations Rice Shochu, which—at 50 proof—is several pegs below the strength of your average gin. If you happen to down several of these in a single sunny afternoon, we won’t judge.

Oryza 75
1½ ounces rice shochu
¾ ounce lime juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces sparkling sake
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Combine shochu, lime juice, and simple syrup in a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled. Double-strain into champagne flute and top with sparkling sake. Float four dashes of Peychaud’s bitters to finish.

Brian Samuels