A while ago I joined Benihana’s “Be the Chef” course to learn a little more about what it takes to tackle the teppanyaki grill. While I was there, I learned about the skills and techniques that go into creating a Benihana meal, and some of the backstory behind the menu. Benihana recently created Emperor’s Feast because ordering Rocky’s Choice and upgrading the Hibachi steak to filet mignon was one of the most popular requests. So for my partnership with Benihana, I wanted to create a cocktail inspired by this feast, and landed on a Sake Sour.

The flavors in the Emperor’s Feast are rich and savory: butter seasoned with garlic and soy sauce go on the meat and fried rice, fresh lemon on the zucchini and shrimp appetizer, and a punch of piquancy from the ginger and mustard sauces. So, when it came to creating a cocktail to pair with these flavors, I wanted to choose something that would contrast and complement, rather than compete. Sake seemed like the right direction, as Benihana has a wide selection to choose from and the flavor is so clean and fresh. Add a pop of citrus and a light, frothy, texture, and you have the perfect cocktail to pair with Emperor’s Feast: A Sake Sour.

Sours are a very classic, very simple cocktail. The whiskey sour being what comes to mind immediately. But to go with the Japanese techniques and the savory, umami flavors, I wanted to incorporate dry sake for a bit of brightness. The cocktail is light and refreshing, with a nice acidic punch to cut through the richness of the meal. Enjoy!


For one cocktail

2 ounces dry sake

1 ounce lemon juice

1 teaspoon superfine sugar

1 egg white

2 sprigs mint

***You can substitute 3-ounces of sour mix for the lemon juice, sugar and egg white


Vigorously shake the sake, lemon juice, sugar, mint, and egg white well with cracked ice for about 15 seconds, then strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.

***If substituting sour mix, vigorously shake the sake, mint and sour mix with cracked ice for about 15 seconds, then strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.