High Tea · Kamakura

By Eric Twardzik · 09/19/2019

At Kamakura in downtown Boston, you can partake in a different kind of Japanese tea ceremony by sipping this cocktail. The High Tea combines a syrup made using gyokuro tea with Japanese gin and Aperol, plus pomegranate and yuzu juices.

Gyokuro, a type of shade-grown green tea known for its earthy character, is essential to the drink’s flavor. If you’ll be making the drink at home, Kamakura beverage director and event coordinator Michael Puopolo* suggests using this version from Cambridge’s Mem Tea.

Because gyokuro has a reputation for being delicate, Puopolo stresses the importance of following the supplier’s instructions for proper steeping. (He steeps his at 160 degrees Fahrenheit for no more than two minutes.)

Nikka Coffey Gin, which counts the quintessentially Japanese ingredients of yuzu and sansho pepper among its botanicals, serves as the drink’s base spirit.

“It definitely has a fruiter texture, flavor, and aroma than your typical London Dry or American-style gin,” Puopolo says.

Puopolo adds yuzu juice to the drink, but first dilutes it with spring water to ease its acidity and bitterness.

The cocktail’s most striking feature is the bright, green earthiness of gyokuro tea. But it also gets a citrus-forward note from yuzu, a hint of sweetness from pomegranate juice, and a touch of spice from sansho pepper.

High Tea
1½ ounces Nikka Coffey Gin

1 ounce gyokuro tea syrup*
¾ ounce POM Wonderful (or other pomegranate juice)
½ ounce Aperol
½ ounce diluted yuzu juice (a 1:1 ratio of yuzu juice to water)
Dehydrated lemon wheel, for garnish

Add all ingredients, except garnish, to a shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with dehydrated lemon wheel.

*Gyokuro Tea Syrup (yields 12 ounces)
1½ cups water

1 tablespoon Gyokuro tea leaves
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Steep tea according to supplier’s instructions. After steeping, add brown sugar while water is hot and stir until fully dissolved. Keeps up to 5 days, refrigerated. 

*Michael Puopolo is no longer employed by Kamakura

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