Sweet, sour, floral, and tart – yuzu has been taking the culinary world by storm; here’s how to add the bright citrus to your shaker.
The beloved yuzu is native to central China and Tibet where it grows wild. At some point during the Tang dynasty (roughly years 600-900), the fruit was exported to Korea and Japan where it became a staple flavor across cuisine. The fruit is rarely eaten plain, but the zest and juice are used in a wide range of products including alcoholic spirits, vinegars, teas, and both sweet and savory foods. The flavor is often described as being like a blend of mandarin orange and grapefruit which makes it ideal in a range of cocktail and mocktail uses.
One effective way to add any fruit flavor to cocktails is with the use of fruit purées like the ones from Monin. Their Yuzu Purée adds dramatic sweet and tart yuzu flavor in an easy to pour and store container. Not only does the purée mean you can have a consistent and reliable source of high-quality ingredients, but you can use it in both cocktail and mocktail settings.
Originally established in 1603 as the private brewery of the Sagawa Castle, Tsukasabotan Brewing Company has mastered the art of sake brewing. Their Yuzu bottling drinks more like a liqueur than a traditional sake with less traditional flavor. The rich and sweet expression is bottled at 8% and brewed with 10% yuzu juice. Use it alone as an aperitif or in cocktails for a bold dose of flavor and color.
The expert team at Kikori Whiskey brings their craftmanship to a new frontier with Yuzuri Yuzu Liqueur. The new spirit is made from 100% locally grown rice and pristine, local groundwater from the Island of Kyushu in Southern Japan. Japanese yuzu is combined with locally grown sugar beets and Australian sugarcane to create a balance of tart and sweet before being bottled at 60 proof.
Manufacturer and brand owner Yuki Yamazaki worked with gin brands before starting The Japanese Bitters; his work in the industry led him to realize there was space in the market for a high-end bitter line in traditional Japanese flavors. His team uses a sous vide method to extract flavors more effectively. Their yuzu flavor is made with yuzu purchased directly from farmers in the Tokushima prefecture.
Yamahai Junmai sake is mixed with whole Yuzu fruit juice and a little bit of sugar to create a bright and refreshing spirit. The slow-brewing method of Yamahai is an old-fashioned style of sake production that allows lactic acid to form naturally creating a light astringency and complex, earthy flavors. The bone-dry spirit works wonderfully in cocktails, on the rocks, or with a splash of seltzer.