On February 13th 2020, one month before Covid hit New York City, Andrew and I celebrated Valentine's Day a day early at BONDST, a Japanese-inspired restaurant lounge in lower Manhattan. It was swanky and expensive, perfect for couples looking to avoid the Valentine crowd that would overtake the city's restaurant scene the next evening.
The food was very good, the flavors complex and interesting, but the most memorable part of the food and beverage experience was, undoubtedly, the Sake Martini. I remember taking a sip and immediately reacting with a subtle gasp and "woah". It was delightfully smooth, crisp, and boozy. Simple, yet thoughtful. It made me dance in my seat. After three of these tinis, some tasty shared plates, fun conversation, and very pretty people watching, we were ready to bar hop.
The thought of ever celebrating another Valentine's Day like this– sipping cocktails in a trendy lounge before hopping around the city, mask-free– borders on fantastical at this point. But, maybe I could create a version of this delicious cocktail that would momentarily take me back to last Valentine's day, like smelling sunscreen in January.
Get the recipe below, or watch my quick YouTube Video on how to make it.
- 2 oz vodka (We're a Ketel One household)
- 1 oz sake. I was gifted this Gekkeikan Sake recently, and it is lovely.
- 4 thick slices of cucumber for muddling. 1 thin slice for garnish
In a cocktail shaker muddle 3 cucumber slices very well, so they release a lot of cucumber juice and flavor. Add the vodka, sake, and a few ice cubes, cover, and shake for 20 seconds. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with another slice of cucumber.
If you like these flavors but want something with a lower ABV, you can serve it on the rocks topped with plain seltzer.