Japanese beverages and cherry blossoms

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Lychee is a popular fruit throughout Japan and many parts of Asia, and has made its way across seas and is appearing in local supermarkets and cocktail recipes. Because lychee is a subtropical or tropical fruit, it thrives in Florida, California, Texas and Hawaii. This whitish, fleshy fruit isn’t associated with spring, per se, but fresh, delicious fruit is always in season.

In honor of spring, mix up a spring-inspired cocktail that the Japanese would be proud of.

Kick off your shoes, put on your kimono and drink this sake cocktail, for goodness sake!

Pisco Blossom
2 parts Pisco Porton, or favorite single-malt scotch, marinated with lychee fruit
½ part sake
Lychee fruit garnish

Pour Pisco Porton into a shaker with sake and ice. Shake and strain the contents into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lychee.

Credit: Pisco Porton

Japanese SoHo Cocktail
¾ ounces vodka
4 ounces lemonade
1 ½ teaspoons blue curacao
½ ounce lychee liqueur
Lemon slice

Pour vodka, lemonade, blue curacao and lychee liqueur into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake and strain the contents into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon slice.
(No, this cocktail cannot be found in Tampa’s SoHo neighborhood.)

Credit: LN Lee

click to enlarge Pisco Blossom - Evins Communications
Evins Communications
Pisco Blossom

We may not be surrounded by cherry blossoms here like the northeast region of the U.S. is, but it’s official: spring has sprung. Living in Tampa Bay, we don’t experience changing seasons and climates, except for the transition from the “warm season” to “hot season,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the kickoff of spring with the rest of the country.

We associate cherry blossoms with spring and the Japanese culture because that is where they're originally “rooted.” Cherry blossoms are the flowers, or blossoms, of trees such as the Japanese Cherry. Some of these trees grow fruit, but many of them are planted simply because they’re pleasurable to the peepers. In 1912, Japan gave the U.S. a gift of over 3,000 cherry blossom trees, as a token of friendship between the two countries. Today, many U.S. cities, including Brooklyn and Newark, hold annual Cherry Blossom Festivals, because the budding of these blossoms is associated with the beginning of spring.

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