Alcohol Culture Pop-Ups

This NYC Pop-Up Takes You To The Olympics Via Expertly Crafted Japanese Cocktails

The 2020 Olympics are definitely different than past games, due in large part to the pandemic. Since spectators are prohibited from attending the games in Tokyo, Japan’s leading shochu iichiko and NYC bar Katana Kitten have created an Izakaya-inspired viewing experience to watch the games complete with bar snacks and specialty cocktails. 

The iichiko takeover at Katana Kitten is open to the public until Sunday (August 8). Once guests arrive downstairs and walk through the Noren (Japanese curtains) they will be greeted by an ornately decorated space outfitted with lanterns, hanging strings of flags, bandanas, branded tablecloths, life-sized inflatable bottles and posters, with a large projector screen showing the games. 

In addition to the regular menu, bites like the KK Wagyu Dog with radish sprouts and masago wasabi aioli on a top-cut brioche bun and Fish and Wonton Chips with akami tuna, spiced ponzu, sesame scallions and avocado mousse will be served alongside specialty iichiko cocktails.

Katana Kitten’s award-winning mixologist Masahiro Urushido, has crafted some signature drinks like the Mugi Sour (iichiko Saiten, passionfruit, lemon, soba honey and egg white) and a refreshing Yuzu-Shio Chu-Hai (iichiko Saiten, yuzu citrus, sea salt and bergamot).

iichicko has also partnered with New Jersey-based Ani Ramen for Olympics-inspired cocktails that will be served until the games end.

Distilled in two different expressions, Saiten and Silhouette, iichiko Shochu is a native spirit of Japan – which is a white spirit that’s rich in flavor, yet smooth and easy to drink with food.

Created specifically for the modern bartender, iichiko Saiten is a full-flavored expression of shochu that is perfect for cocktails at 43% ABV.

iichiko Silhouette is the traditional expression of shochu and Japan’s #1 shochu brand. Silhouette pairs well with a wide range of cuisines and is traditionally enjoyed with food, at 25% ABV.

#foodbeast Brand Drinks FOODBEAST Restaurants SPONSORED Video

Restaurant Is Pairing Shochu Cocktails With Creative Dishes Like LENGUA Loco Moco

This content is intended for audiences over the age of 21+. 

Loco moco, a plate of ground beef patties, rice, eggs, and gravy, is one of the ultimate Hawaiian comfort foods. That classic dish is getting a unique twist, though, as a restaurant is subbing the patties out for lengua, or beef tongue.

This Lengua Loco Moco was crafted by chef Nikko Marquez at The Recess Room in Fountain Valley, CA. His take holds true to most components of the Hawaiian classic, but swaps out the traditional patties for braised beef tongue.

The lengua takes 3 days to make, starting with a brine of salt, brown sugar, black pepper, coriander, soy sauce, parsley, thyme, chile de arbol, bay leave, and garlic. That marinates overnight before it’s braised, cooled overnight, and then seared on day 3 to get a crunch on the outside.

For the actual plate, Marquez starts with a 24-hour beef demi-glace, and layers on cipollini onions, slices of the beef tongue, pickled cucumbers, and rice seasoned with togarashi and furikake. The dish is topped off with another slice of lengua, a crispy seasoned fried egg, green onion, and nori.

The dish is paired with a cocktail featuring Nankai Shochu called the Ohana. The flavors of Nankai’s shochu, caramelized pineapple, vanilla, lime, rum, and blackstrap bitters balance perfectly with the richness of the loco moco.

Marquez’s Lengua Loco Moco paired with the Ohana headline a new menu now running at Recess that features dishes paired with Nankai Shochu cocktails. In total, there are 4 drinks and 8 dishes in this lineup, with two dishes pairing as a “course” with each individual drink.

The full list of pairings is as follows:

Course 1

Chicken Fried Mushrooms – maitake mushroom, Louisiana hot sauce, house buttermilk sauce
Wagyu “Poke” Tartare – American wagyu beef, shoyu, sesame oil, togarashi, Okinawa potato chips

Paired With: The Olive Garden – Avocado infused Shochu, olive brine, salt, celery

Course 2

Grilled Persimmon – avocado, fish sauce vinaigrette, shiso, sesame, coriander
Lengua Loco Moco – Braise Beef Tongue, furikake rice, veal Demi – glace, quick pickled cucumbers, crunchy fried egg

Paired With: The Ohana – Caramelized pineapple, vanilla, Rum, lime, Shochu, black strap bitter

Course 3

Pork Belly Smoky Risotto – Bulgar wheat risotto, smoked dashi, delicata squash, cumin carrot puree, pickled mustard seed
Bone Marrow Mac n Cheese with a Shochu Bone Marrow Luge Shot – Bacon jam, mozzarella, Swiss, cheddar, gruyere, white parmesan

Paired With: The Xocolate – Shochu, Sherry, Porto wine, Campari & xocolatl mole

Course 4

Duck Confit Noodles – Chinese five spice cured duck leg, soba noodles, bok choy, scorched rice tea
Cowboy Steak – American Wagyu Bone-in Ribeye, ponzu butter, charred red onion, grilled cabbage, crispy potatoes

Paired With: The Ugly Duckling – Sesame seed-infused Shochu, cold brew, orange juice, clove, lemon & nutmeg

If you’re interested in trying the Lengua Loco Moco, the Ohana, or any of the other creative dishes and Nankai Shochu cocktails on The Recess Room’s limited-edition menu, they’ll be around for the next month.

Created in partnership with Nankai Shochu. 


Stomp Around and Breathe Blue Radioactive Lasers with Godzilla Sake


Do you like to drink? Do you sometimes break things when you drink? Despite what a few of your, ahem, smaller critics might think, you’re no monster; just misunderstood. So why not share your miseries with the only person-lizard who could possibly feel your pain, over a few shots taken from this limited edition Godzilla-shaped bottle of sake?


Designed by Japanese molding engineer Ito Shigeaki to look “beserk but good looking, yet friendly,” this commemorative 720 ml bottle is meant to help fans who grew up watching the king of monsters as children reminisce fondly about him as adults. From nubby silver toes to a broad scaly torso, the bottle comes filled with full scale wheat shochu (a Japanese distilled beverage similar to sake, though with not nearly the same search recognition, sorry ‘bout it*).

Our friends at Mighty Mega suggest you enjoy it while indulging in a kaiju movie marathon. At the very least, it’ll give you an excuse for going around making this sound all night:

Godzilla Shochu: ~$110 @ Choujugura

H/T + Picthx Mighty Mega

*Yes we realize sake =/= shochu. No you don’t need to rant at us over it.


How Much Would It Take For You to Drink This Wasp-Whiskey?


Okay, technically it’s wasp-vodka, but that didn’t have quite the same zing.

A couple of months ago, we brought you the oddity that was feces wine, but apparently Japan’s love affair with purely wtf alcohol doesn’t stop there. Rocket News reports that some arguably sadistic “huntsmen” in the Kumamoto Prefecture have taken to trapping helpless wasps, drowning them in shochu alcohol and letting them ferment for three years to allow their toxins to flavor the drink. The result is a salty brown swill that smells like regular shochu but with just a hint of rotting flesh. It also fights fatigue.

RN describes the grueling process, which frankly makes me prefer the poop-wine over this stuff, just so the wasps don’t have to suffer anymore:

First, how the wasps are captured
Basically, if there’s an underground nest, then simply place a net over the entrance and cause a disturbance which will drive the bugs up into it. If the wasps are flying, then knock them out with a large swatter. Or, if there’s ever a nest built beneath some sort of overhang, then place a plastic bag over the nest and capture the wasps that way. Obviously, protective clothing is an absolute must while wasp hunting, though there are still instances where the wasps’ stingers make it through.


How this wasp-flavored liquor is made
First, a large number of living wasps is put in a mason jar, which is then filled with shouchuu. Afterward, the jar is sealed up tight and left alone for about three full years. Having no means to escape their alcohol hell, the wasps must suffer terribly within the jar, for they release a great deal of toxins as they die and then ferment. Again, protective clothing is absolutely necessary when preparing the jars.

You hear that? Alcohol hell. Suffer terribly. Almost makes you want to call up PETA and advocate for wasps’ rights.

Then again, you know, bugs.



H/T + Picthx Rocket News