With the start of summer, we’re reminded that Mother Nature is truly a powerful force, bringing about changes we see and experience all around us. In commemoration of this, Roku Gin is an expertly crafted gin that celebrates every season in every sip.
What sets Roku apart are the six Japanese botanicals that have been carefully selected to represent each season. Summer is brought to life with the flavours of sencha and gyokuro teas while spring pays tribute to the sakura flower and leaf. To showcase autumn’s beauty, sanshō pepper adds its unique taste, and last, but not least, the peel of the yuzu fruit brings it all together as winter finally makes its appearance.
Each of these ingredients has been selected with purpose, in line with Shinjiro Torii’s 100-year-old dream of creating original Japanese spirits the whole world can enjoy, uniquely inspired by Japan’s natural heritage and her people.
As South Africans, most of us aren’t familiar with these unique Japanese ingredients. What are they, and what makes them so special that the team at Roku waits an entire year to harvest them at the peak of their season?
Let’s start with the spring botanicals, sakura flower and leaf. Sakura, or the Japanese cherry, is synonymous with Japanese culture. To ensure optimal flavour, Roku uses fresh sakura blossoms, which can only be harvested during one week of the year when the trees bloom in spring. You won’t find any artificial flavours or frozen botanicals in this premium gin! With its subtle, flowery aroma, sakura blossom is a popular flavour in Japan, reminiscent of the springtime. Sakura leaf brings a more elegant, rich aroma and the leaves are typically used to wrap sakura mochi rice cakes, a traditional springtime delicacy.
As things heat up and the summer months make a welcomed appearance, so do sencha and gyokuro teas. Both teas are classified as green teas, with sencha having a distinctly bitter flavour, while gyokuro is a more premium green tea known for its sweet, gentle aroma and strong umami taste. To get the best flavour, the leaves are shielded from sunlight, increasing the amino acids in the plant.
Moving into the autumn months and the warm colours and flavours we often associate with this season, we have sanshō pepper. Native to Japan, these berries are dried and added to food. Often described as having lemongrass-like flavours, it does feature a spicy kick and offers refreshing herbal notes that amplify the experience of Roku.
When it comes to the cool winter months, yuzu takes centre stage. This fragrant Japanese citrus fruit is rich in vitamin C and boasts a deep citrus flavour that’s said to taste like a mix of grapefruit and mandarin. Yuzu is found everywhere in Japan, flavouring everything from savoury fish dishes to sweet desserts. Its unique aroma makes the fruit appealing and rounds off the Roku Gin experience.
Each ingredient in Roku Gin is perfectly balanced to provide the ultimate sensory drinking experience. We start with the smell, a floral aroma brought on by the sakura flower and green teas. The first sip reveals the complex, multi-layered, yet harmonious flavour of the botanicals that make up the base of the gin. Finally, sanshō pepper adds a spicy finish to this expertly crafted gin.
Take your seasonal experience to the next level, with this specially crafted summer cocktail. The Roku Summer Highball is a delightful combination of grapefruit juice, lime cordial and bitters, emphasising the harmony of sweet, sour and bitter flavours within Roku Gin.