Think of Japanese whisky as a close relative of scotch. A half-brother, for example, or a cousin who comes over to eat all the time. Both spirits are made with malted barley - but Japanese whisky tends to be smoother and more approachable, with notes of honey and a smokiness that’s a little more subtle. Unsurprisingly, it’s delicious in cocktails, and we have two right here that you should start with. The Mountainside is an original cocktail from Guest Bartender John deBary, and the Toki Highball is a minimalist modern classic. Both have no more than three ingredients (not including ice), and, once you get some practice, you should be able to make either with very little effort.
The Mountainside comes courtesy of Guest Bartender John deBary, and it shares a lot of DNA with a classic Old Fashioned. You’ll have to make some fennel syrup - but you should be able to do that in less than 5 minutes while you listen to a podcast or calculate the square root of something in your head. And it’ll be very much worth it.
Some bars and restaurants actually have machines for this one cocktail - but those machines cost thousands of dollars, and you don’t have space in your kitchen anyway. Here’s how to make an ideal version on your own.