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Mixing with Peruvian Elements in Cocktails with Bartender Joshua Lopez

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Osaka Nikkei, Miami is far more than just a restaurant.

It’s a multi-sensory experience where Peruvian and Japanese cultures and cuisines coexist harmoniously. The vibrant environment of the space sets a special vibe for guests to indulge in an experience that appeals to each one of their senses. The establishment’s incorporation of Japan and Peru is no happenstance. Its concept is historically derived from an era dating back a century, when almost 7,000 Japanese migrated to Peru. Upon arrival, they naturally began to cook with Peruvian ingredients available to them. The application of their simple, yet precise techniques resulted in the birth of Nikkei cuisine. A culinary force that gradually made its mark on a global scale.

At Osaka Nikkei Miami, this cultural hybridization can be found in their cocktail menu as well. To learn more about the place and how their bar team mixes with Peruvian elements, Chilled spoke with Joshua Lopez, Bar Manager at Osaka Nikkei Miami.

 

What kind of experience can guests expect?

Everything from the glassware to the lighting has been meticulously chosen to ensure a distinct feeling. A multi-sensory experience is what you can expect, the aromas of the dishes to the crackling sound of the table side torching and the textures of handmade ceramic glassware. It’s really something you have to enjoy to fully understand.

 

Tell us about mixing with Peruvian ingredients.

Mixing with Peruvian ingredients is an adventure. There is a jungle of flavors that are curious and not always accessible. Using flavors that I now feel are a bit more “mainstream” like Lulo has really been a blast. Luckily I have the chefs here from Peru to introduce me to new ways of thinking, from incorporating things like lucuma, golden berry, and guanabana.

 

What should bartenders know about adding Peruvian elements to cocktails?

The way I have started to think of these ingredients is really to try to preserve the essence of what the flavor is, then work from there. Lucuma might not be best in a traditional syrup, maybe it’ll work better in a milk wash or in an orgeat. Golden berry works really well in a jam. There are a million ways to think of using these ingredients. The best way I have found to work with these is to look at where they come from and how they are best expressed, then just go from there.

 

What are some tips to adding these elements to your cocktails.

Balance is key. Some of these elements such as rocoto can be so intrusive that they are almost unusable in a cocktail without the right preparation.

 

Talk to us about the Aka Sour.

The Aka sour is an interesting cocktail. It’s how I feel a cocktail should naturally evolve with new techniques and minds trying to bend classic ideas. At the core of the Aka Sour is a New York sour that’s been twisted into something completely new. A classic Pisco Sour elevated with floral notes from a cardamom infused syrup, then poured over an ice cube containing malbec, hibiscus, and chicha morada. The idea slowly evolves with each sip. The concoction was created by Jean Carlo Cardenas, the Osaka Beverage Director in Peru. He is an expert in blending Peru and Japan.

 

 

 

Aka Sour

The aka sour is a deeply Peruvian cocktail using Pisco, a Peruvian distillate as the base, lime, cardamom, and egg white for texture. This is served over an Aka (red) ice cube made of an infusion of chicha morada, Malbec wine, and hibiscus tea.

Aka Sour

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. 1615 Pisco Quebranta
  • 1 oz Lime Juice fresh squeezed
  • 1 oz fresh egg white
  • 1 oz Cardamom Syrup

Preparation: Add all ingredients to your preferred shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 12 seconds. Then strain back into the tins and shake with no ice for an additional 12 seconds. Serve the cocktail over your *Aka Ice and enjoy.

 

*Aka Ice

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 parts chicha morada
  • 1 part Malbec wine
  • 1/2 parts hibiscus tea

Preparation: Freeze in medium square mold.

 

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