Mitsutake Sake Brewery gin
Photo: Mitsutake Sake Brewery

A heritage sake brewery in Japan has released a craft gin made with Japanese botanicals

The new Aka Torii gin features Japanese flavours like green tea, cedar, wasabi, sansho pepper and even oyster shells

Written by
Jessica Thompson

Japan’s craft gin boom is showing no signs of slowing down, and that’s good news for gin lovers looking for innovative twists on the juniper-driven liquor. Mitsutake Sake Brewery, a historical sake brewery in Japan, has just released a Japanese craft gin celebrating some of the country’s most iconic botanicals.

Mitsutake Sake Brewery gin
Yutoku Inari ShrinePhoto: Mitsutake Sake Brewery

The majestic vermillion gates are a symbol of Japan. These Aka Torii, as they are known locally, are often found at shrine entrances throughout the country. They are also particularly emblematic of Saga prefecture's Kashima City as it is home to the famous Yutoku Inari Shrine, which is well known for its profusion of torii gates. Since Mitsutake Sake Brewery has been operating in Kashima City since 1688, the company naturally adopted the Japanese gate as the name of its maiden gin.

Mitsutake Sake Brewery gin
Photo: Mitsutake Sake Brewery

The Aka Torii gin comes in two varieties: original and premium. The original version features these five base botanicals: juniper, cedar, tea, orange and lemon. The ingredient list for the premium bottle, on the other hand, is boosted to 11 botanicals, adding wasabi leaves, seaweed, green tea, sansho pepper and even oyster shells into the mix. The resulting spirit is complex yet refined and well-balanced, bound together by the pristine underground water that flows from nearby mountain ranges. 

Mitsutake Sake Brewery distills its gin according to a multiple-shot method, where the botanicals are distilled separately in groups and then blended together with the base alcohol. The purpose of this is to bring out the unique characteristics of each ingredient.

On its website, Mitsutake Brewery suggests drinking Aka Torii gin with tonic water or in a negroni. You can also make an espresso martini with 30ml of the original gin, 5ml sake, 30ml espresso and 10ml agave syrup. 

The Aka Torii Original and Premium, available in 700ml bottles, can be purchased online at ¥1,980 and ¥4,840 respectively.

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