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Warm Sake-Strawberry Whipped Cream Cocktail)

Warm Sake-Strawberry Whipped Cream Cocktail)

Discover the art of mixology at EN Japanese Brasserie in Manhattan, where the incredibly talented Gen Yamamoto creates exceptional cocktails. Learn about his approach using seasonal and natural ingredients, and try an exquisite cocktail recipe he graciously shared - Warm Sake-Strawberry Whipped Cream Cocktail.

I knew I was in for a treat when my pals at Manhattan's EN Japanese Brasserie invited me to sample cocktails up whipped up by their new mixologist, the incredibly talented Gen Yamamoto. I met Gen a month ago at a Japan-related gala, and loved his drinks. I've never been a huge cocktail fan, to be honest; save for the classics, most seemed to me uni-dimensional -- i.e., cloyingly sweet -- and nowhere near as sublime as sipping something aged in an oak barrel and served neat. But the last couple of years have changed my mind here in New York, as the city has been swept by serious cocktail bars staffed by mixologists elevating their craft to the level of fine chefs. So I was excited to meet Gen, who's clearly playing in the same league -- and stamping his work with a Japanese sensibility, to boot -- and really excited to hear he started plying his art at EN.

So what makes Gen's cocktails so special? The fresh kiwi and plums sitting on the bar offered a hint. "What I do is create a food pairing in a glass," Gen explained. "I respect the natural taste of fresh ingredients and the natural taste of the liquors I use." As he muddled the plums, he told me he creates drinks that reflect the seasons, incorporating seasonal ingredients such as tomatoes, cucumbers, ginger, pumpkin, concord grapes, even sweet potato and corn. But seasonality isn't the only thing he considers. "I respect the moment," he explained. Much like a kaiseki dinner, as Gen put it, he takes his patrons on a sensory journey as they sample his drinks, playfully tantalizing the senses all the while. So I put myself in Gen's hands, ordering a series of cocktails omakase - chef's choice (a first for me with drinks!). Gen, who started mixing drinks a decade ago in Tokyo, selected drinks from EN's current seasonal menu - kiwi with fennel and shochu; cucumber, vodka, salt and pepper; pineapple, vodka and rosemary tea; and shiso and gin. All were aromatic, subtle, complex, naturally and delicately sweet, but not overly so. Delicious. Somehow I did not become yoppari (drunk) that night. Did Gen slip some magic potion to his cocktails, too?

And, as promised in the headline, here's a fantastic drink recipe I adapted from Gen, with his gracious permission:

Warm Sake-Strawberry Whipped Cream Cocktail

Makes 1 drink


  • 1/3 cup sake (Dassai 50 recommended)
  • 1/2 teaspoon simple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon strawberry preserves
  • 1/2 teaspoon strawberry, mashed through a strainer
  • 2 teaspoons fresh sweetened whipped cream
  • 1 slice of strawberry for garnish
  • 1 mint leaf for garnish


  1. Warm the Sake: Heat the sake in a water bath to body temperature (about 98 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit).

  2. Sweeten the Sake: Once warm, mix in the simple syrup to the sake to add body and balance the sweetness of the strawberry.

  3. Prepare Strawberry Whipped Cream: Mix together the strawberry preserves and mashed strawberry. Carefully fold in the whipped cream to combine.

  4. Assemble the Cocktail: Pour the warmed sake into a serving cup. Dollop the strawberry whipped cream on top of the sake.

  5. Garnish and Serve: Garnish the cocktail with a slice of strawberry and a mint leaf before serving.

Enjoy this unique and delightful Warm Sake-Strawberry Whipped Cream Cocktail, perfect for a cozy and indulgent treat!