Olive Not, Turn a Green Leaf on your Martini, Shiso Martini from 'Japanese Cocktails' by Leigh Clarke

Olive not, turn a green (and purple leaf) with this Shiso Martini from 'Japanese Cocktails' (Over 40 highballs, Spritzes and other refreshing low-alcohol drinks) by Leigh Clarke (Ryland Peters & Small, 2019), photography by Alex Luck.

Shiso Martini

Shiso is a beautiful green and purple leaf used throughout Japanese cuisine. Its delicate flavour combines well with vermouth in this martini. The measure is kept small so that the drink doesn’t warm too much in the glass.


50 ml/1 2⁄3 fl oz. Shiso Vodka*

10 ml/2 teaspoons dry vermouth

Small shiso leaf, to garnish



Place a small coupe glass in the freezer. Pour the vodka and vermouth into a mixing glass full of ice. Stir well, then strain into the frosted coupe glass. Garnish with a small shiso leaf.

Shiso Vodka Soda

Shiso is part of the mint family and has a unique grassy, peppery flavour. It gives a perfect little twist on this classically ‘clean’ drink.

40 ml/1 1⁄3 fl oz. Shiso Vodka*

5 ml/1 teaspoon Acidulated Sugar Syrup**

soda water, to top up

edible flower, to garnish

Combine the shiso vodka and acidulated syrup over ice in a highball glass. Briefly stir, then top up with soda. Garnish with an edible flower.

*Shiso Vodka

300 ml/1 1⁄4 cups vodka

3 g fresh shiso leaves

Add the shiso leaves to the vodka and then leave to steep for 2 hours at room temperature. Bottle and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

** Acidulated Sugar Syrup

This syrup is used as a brightener in some drinks, as you would use a squeeze of lime in a highball. Simply stir in 6.4 g citric acid and 3.2 g malic acid to 150 g/5 1⁄2 oz. sugar syrup (with a 2:1 sugar to water ratio) off the heat until dissolved. Let the syrup cool before bottling. It will keep for up to 3 weeks refrigerated.

This is Tokyo Thursdays # 315

(* 'Shiso Martini' recipe reproduced with permission from 'Japanese Cocktails' Over 40 highballs, Spritzes and other refreshing low-alcohol drinks by Leigh Clarke with photography published by Ryland Peters & Small, 2019).

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