Just like how a cooking anime is going to leave you peckish, Bartender was an anime I couldn’t watch without having a good drink myself. This, however, made me feel a little jealous. How come I am drinking beer straight from the bottle while these characters get incredibly fancy cocktails. Sure, I could maybe go to a cocktail bar myself… or I could bring the cocktail bar home.
I decided that it’d a be a good idea to try recreating some of the anime’s featured cocktails. After all, it gave me all the instructions I should theoretically need. So that’s what I did and these are the results.
It may be weird to start out on a regular glass of whiskey, but the Suntory “Kakubin” is a major plot element in the show after all. It felt wrong not to give it a try.
Suntory was Japan’s first-ever whiskey producer, founding its first distillery in 1923 after first entering the alcohol market with port wine. The iconic square bottle styled after a tortoise shell symbolizes the company’s enduring commitment to quality. It also makes the whiskey look especially fancy, in spite of being quite affordable—60 euros for an imported bottle.
According to Bartender the flavor is inspired by scotch, but finely tuned to appeal to Japan’s people. The result is a whiskey that is pleasantly mild in both smell and taste. Each sip goes down incredibly smoothly and it has a nice mix of tones to its flavor. This softness makes Suntory a nice, easy drink, which doesn’t burn or overpower.
This does make it tempting to drink more and faster than I would with my usual brands. Those who prefer their alcohol to have some kick will likely feel that Suntory is too weak. Especially if you add ice or water to it as well, though I didn’t actually test that myself.
Mixing my own cocktail was a new experience for me. One that was made all the more strange because this one called for a departure from my usual drinking habits. The Rusty Nail is a cocktail served on ice that incorporates Drambuie and scotch. I am usually very adamant about drinking Irish whiskey.
Nevertheless I decided to follow the recipe. A scoop of ice and a half part Drambuie for every full part of scotch. Mix or stir it together and there you go. It doesn’t call for anything fancy and the result is pretty damn tasty.
Drambuie is a whiskey liqueur that mixes scotch, honey, and a blend of herbs and spices. Its flavor is very distinct and strong, which is what makes the Rusty Nail such a nice cocktail. Even when mixed with a different scotch, that sweet, herby flavor of the Drambuie still comes through brilliantly. Chilled with all that ice, it becomes a drink that is refreshing and flavorful.
I like to order an Old Fashioned whenever I go out drinking, which I feel the Rusty Nail is comparable too. The difference being that this recipe has fewer ingredients, making it a lot more beginner friendly. I ended up making several of these since acquiring my bottle of Drambuie (23 euros for 70 cl). A good thing too, as now I have an actual purpose for any bottles of scotch that end up in my possession.
As an aside, I did try this drink without ice. This helps the Drambuie stand out even more, creating a taste that I’d compare to “Fireball, if Fireball was actually good”.
So, pastis is a type of alcohol native of France. Its renowned for its overpowering anise flavor, which Bartender jokingly mentions only 1 in 10 people actually like. Turns out that I am not in that 10%, though my friend apparently was. Lucky bastard is now the proud owner of an entire bottle of Pastis 51.
We first tried the stuff pure, which was as aggressive as Bartender made it out to be. The anise is so strong that it felt as if my tongue was paralyzed. The taste lingered for a long time as well. For about an hour after my last sip, everything I ate or drank still tasted like pure pastis.
The anime recommends watering it down. 3 parts water for every 1 part of Pastis 51. Doing so will almost instantly change the color to a white hue, fitting the anise flavor. The taste becomes milder and doesn’t linger anywhere near as long either. Is it better this way? Yes. However, I still couldn’t see myself ever willingly drinking this again.
By far the most complicated drink in terms of preparation, Black Velvet is a mixture of champagne and stout. While you’d usually pour a beer so as to reduce the amount of foam, for a Black Velvet you need to counter-intuitively pour it straight down into the glass. While, at the same time, pouring an equal amount of champagne.
Getting it just right to avoid a rush of foam is difficult, so of course I fucked it up. I kept having to wait for the foam to go down so I could pour in more, repeating this process about 3 times per glass. That was disappointing, but I did get a decent 50/50 mix eventually.
The result was worth the wait. The mix between stout and champagne is a surprisingly nice one. The bubbly sensation and flavor of champagne complementing the ruggedness of Guinness.
While Bartender insists on Guinness, you can theoretically use other stouts. I did wish it was more specific about what champagne to use though, because I know nothing about champagne. I just bought the first bottle in my price range that sounded fancy. Your mileage may thus vary depending on what brands you go with, but I could definitely see myself trying this one again. Preferably made by someone more competent.