If you've eaten at a sushi restaurant before, you've probably seen shiso. Shiso (also known as perilla), is a member of the mint family with broad jagged edged leaves. The green variety is often used as a garnish, but it also makes for a great herb, with a unique aroma, vaguely reminiscent of mint and cinnamon.
The red variety is much less common, and is primarily used for making pickles in Japan. It has a purply hue that turns vibrant magenta when something acidic is added (like Japanese ume plums). Red shiso has a more floral aroma, which makes it perfect for pairing with liqueurs like St. Germain, or Chambord, and it also goes really well with red fruit, like plums, strawberries and tomatoes.
Because I was planning to use it for making cocktails, I wanted a fairly strong infusion, so I let the leaves steep for thirty days. For serving it straight up, I'd suggest cutting back the infusion time to about a week. If you have trouble finding red shiso, try using green shiso (which any Japanese grocery store should carry). It will have a different flavour, but will taste great with all kinds of citrus (like grapefruit or lemon).
The shiso loses its brilliant reddish purple color during the infusion process, but this cocktail restores its magenta hue using wild blueberry and strawberry syrup. The floral St Germain, the ripe berries, and herby red shiso creates a wonderfully balanced cocktail that's neither too sweet or nor too strong, and the splash of soda water brings the alcohol level down to the point where you can taste each one of the ingredients.
- 1 part lime juice
- 1 part strawberry blueberry syrup (strawberries and blueberries cooked with sugar then strained)
- 3 part red shiso infused shochu or vodka
- 2 parts St Germain
- 2 soda water
- Fill a shaker with ice and add the lime juice, syrip, St. Germain, and infused vodka. Shake vigorously and empty out into a martini glass. Top with soda water (should be about 2 parts stuff that comes out of the shaker to 1 part soda).
Cooking Gallery says
Stunning photography and the cocktail sound nice!
Love the top view of the glass with mint leaf! Awesome shot!
Tokyo Terrace says
I love this! What a great use for red shiso. I recently used red shiso at the wine dinner I cooked for in Minnesota. I was surprised to find red shiso at the Asian market I use in Minneapolis. It made a gorgeous presentation (one leave on the plate w/my edamame crostini over the top). This cocktail would have been a lovely pairing for that course! If I find any red shiso I'll be sure to try the shiso shochu. Love it!
What a beautiful (and creative) cocktail! I tell you, i could have one or two of those right now. Love the top view also. Did you invest in some cool new lighting?
Marc Matsumoto says
Nope, just put the martini glass on a white surface and surrounded on 3
sides with lights:-)
I want a chuhai! Lovely idea, infusing the shochu with akajiso.
The directions say to add St. Germain, but there is no St. Germain in the ingredients. How much?
Marc Matsumoto says
Sorry about that Michael, we moved the site about 5 years ago and some of the older recipes lost some ingredients in the move. I've fixed it. Thanks for letting me know!