As a wine ninja, I’m fascinated by all things Japanese. So I was excited to learn that Waitrose this week becomes the first UK supermarket to introduce Japanese gin. It’s called Roku – and my years of counting punches in the dojo tells me this translates as the number six.
And sure enough, Roku Japanese gin is made with six Japanese botanicals, including two styles of green tea (Sencha and Gyokuru), Yuzu, Sanshō pepper, and Sakura (cherry blossom) flower and leaf.
The Japanese serve Roku with ice and tonic, but in lieu of lemon or lime they recommend six slithers of fresh ginger. This, of course, gives me no end of ninja-related wordplay ideas — I’m even considering re-branding myself as a Japanese ginger gin ninja. “Ginja”, for short.
I’ve not tasted Roku gin yet, but arigatou gozaimasu (that’s “thanks very much” to non-Japanese speakers) to Waitrose for continuing their experimental approach to drinks buying. Given the relentless rise in popularity of gin and, to a lesser extent, Japanese whisky, Roku Japanese gin sounds like a knockout combo.
Roku Japanese Craft Gin is available in Waitrose branches nationwide and on WaitroseCellar.com, priced at £30 (70cl).