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House of Ki No Bi
Photograph: Courtesy Ki No BiHouse of Ki No Bi gin-pairing menu

Kyoto craft gin Ki No Bi launches a special pop up at Sake Central this spring

Catch a sneak peek of the new Japanese and French-inspired restaurant Censu during the pop-up

By
Tatum Ancheta
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Calling all gin lovers! Here's an event you must bookmark on your calendars this spring. From May 6 to June 5, Ki No Bi gin – the first craft gin made in Kyoto, Japan – will launch a one-month House of Ki No Bi pop-up at Sake Central in PMQ. If you've been missing Japan, you'll be transported to the zen garden of the House of Ki No Bi in Kyoto here and experience an immersive journey to the distillery through tastings and masterclasses.  

House of Ki No Bi in Kyoto

Ki No Bi (which translates to “the beauty of the seasons”) gin is a small-batch, artisanal gin that uses high-quality rice spirit and 11 botanicals that include juniper berry, orris, hinoki, yuzu, lemon, green tea, ginger, red shiso leaves, bamboo leaves, sansho pepper, and kinome. The gin is distilled and bottled at The Kyoto Distillery, Japan’s first dedicated artisanal gin distillery located in Minami-Ku, which is close to the sake brewing Fushimi region whose famed water – valued for use in unparalleled sake brewing – supplies the distillery. 

Censu's chef Shun Sato

The House of Ki No Bi pop-up highlights an eight-course ($1,388/person full pairing experience; $1,188/person light pairing experience) gin pairing menu, available from May 7 to May 31, featuring Japanese and French-inspired cuisine crafted by chef Shun Sato, formerly the head chef at Soho izakaya Fukuro. The menu – a sneak peek of his new restaurant, Censu, which is opening this June – will include dishes like Tohoku oyster with yuzu vinegar, seasonal hamachi with whey tomato ponzu, and Kagoshima wagyu beef tartare, among others. Sake Samurai Elliot Faber carefully prepared the cocktails for the menu highlighting Ki No Bi's six flavour elements – base, citrus, tea, herbal, spice, fruity and floral to complement the cuisine. In addition, guests can also order the sake-gin pairing flight ($388) using Tsukino Katsura's sake, a product that shares the same famed Fushimi water source with Ki No Bi's distillery.  

Ki No Bi paired with Tohoku oyster

sake-gin pairing flight

Those who want to learn more about the brand can join the '6 Elements Masterclass' ($388/person for walk-ins; $288/person for online bookings) every weekend starting from May 15, hosted by Bar Buonasera bartender and the first runner-up of Japan Kanto female bartenders competition, Ayako Miyake. Catch her special guest bartending shift at Sake Central on May 13, from 7pm to 10pm, and taste a one-hour cocktail Omakase experience ($388) featuring three signature cocktails using the flagship Ki No Bi Dry Gin, the distillery's limited bottling – in collaboration with tea-grower and blender, Hori-Shichimeien – Ki No Tea, and navy strength Ki No Bi Sei. Seats are limited, so  book ahead to secure a slot.  

A few bottles of Ki No Bi House Gin will be available for auction during the pop-up

During the pop-up, House of Ki No Bi will have a special auction of rare bottles of Ki No Bi House Gin – a remake of the classic Ki No Bi Dry Gin reduced to 43% ABV, resulting in a softer profile and gentler herbal tones. These rare bottles are only available in House of Ki No Bi in Kyoto and not available for purchase outside the distillery, so make sure to get your hands on the few bottles that will be featured during the four auctions happening once every Sunday. Sales from the auction will be granted to Plastic Free Seas, a Hong Kong-based environmental charity that runs environmental programmes and beach cleanups in the city. 

House of Ki No Bi pop-up will be located at Sake Central, PMQ, Shop 109-113, 35 Aberdeen St, Central. For more information, follow Sake Central on Facebook. Book your reservations to the tasting experiences and masterclasses on sake-central.com

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