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Harajuku: A Journey to Tokyo in a Glass

Harajuku: A Journey to Tokyo in a Glass
  March 28, 2024

Harajuku: A Journey to Tokyo in a Glass

The Harajuku cocktail, named after the vibrant Tokyo district known for its eccentric fashion and youth culture, offers a complex yet balanced taste experience. This recipe combines the warmth of Japanese whisky with bittersweet aperitifs and a touch of chocolate, creating a sophisticated and intriguing drink.


2 ounces Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky (or other Japanese grain whisky)

1 ounce Gran Classico (Italian bitter aperitif)

1 ounce Byrrh (French bitter aperitif)

2 dashes Chocolate Bitters

Orange Twist (for garnish)

Castello Di Brolio – Chianti Classico Gran Selezione – 750ML


Chill your glass:  Place a coupe or rocks glass in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.

Combine liquids: In a mixing glass filled with ice, add the Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky, Gran Classico, Byrrh, and chocolate bitters.

Stir it up: Gently stir for 15-20 seconds to chill and dilute the drink slightly. Don't over-stir, as you don't want to melt the ice too much.

Strain and serve: Strain the chilled cocktail into the prepared coupe or rocks glass.

Garnish time: Express the oils from an orange twist by twisting it over the drink and discarding the peel. Add the twist to the glass for a touch of citrusy aroma.


Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky is the classic choice for this cocktail, but other Japanese grain whiskies can be used. The grain whisky provides a smooth base for the bittersweet aperitifs.

Gran Classico and Byrrh are the key players, adding depth and complexity with their herbal and citrusy notes. If you can't find them, experiment with other bitter aperitifs like Campari or Aperol, but be aware the flavor profile might differ slightly.

Chocolate bitters add a subtle hint of chocolate that complements the other ingredients without overpowering them. You can adjust the amount to your preference.

Freshly expressed orange oils add a touch of brightness and complement the bittersweet flavors.

This cocktail is stirred, not shaken. Stirring ensures proper dilution and maintains the smooth texture of the whisky.

The Harajuku cocktail takes you on a flavor journey to the heart of Tokyo. The combination of Japanese whisky, bittersweet aperitifs, and a touch of chocolate creates a unique and sophisticated experience. So, raise a glass, embrace the unexpected, and embark on a Harajuku adventure!