Japanese Cocktail Recipe

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Japanese Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Japanese Cocktail is a classic cocktail that dates back to the 1860s. It was first documented in Jerry Thomas' Bartenders Guide and is believed to have been created in honor of a Japanese dignitary visiting the United States. This cocktail has a rich history and is enjoyed by those who appreciate classic and elegant drinks.

How Japanese Tastes?

The Japanese Cocktail has a delicate, slightly sweet and nutty flavor profile. The combination of orgeat syrup and cognac creates a smooth, velvety texture, while the bitters add a subtle hint of spice and complexity.

Interesting facts about Japanese

  • The Japanese Cocktail is not actually of Japanese origin, but was named in honor of a visiting Japanese dignitary.
  • The original recipe called for Bogart's Bitters, which are no longer available, but Angostura Bitters can be used as a substitute.
  • The Japanese Cocktail is considered a classic cocktail and is often enjoyed as an after-dinner drink.



Cognac: The soul of this cocktail, providing a rich, oaky baseline. It's a distilled spirit made from grapes in the Cognac region of France. The 2 oz serving is just enough to assert its presence without overpowering the more subtle almond flavor. Too much cognac, and you'd be tipsy before tasting the complexity; too little, and it's just a sweet, flavored water.

Alex Green

Orgeat Syrup

Orgeat Syrup: This is the secret weapon, adding a nutty almond sweetness and a touch of luxury. It's to cocktails what a good supporting actor is to movies—never stealing the scene, but you'd miss it if it weren't there. No orgeat, no party; the cocktail would become a dull Cognac on the rocks.

Mary Mitkina

Angostura Bitters

Angostura Bitters: They're like the spice rack of the bar world, adding depth and complexity with just a couple of dashes. It's like a dash of salt in cooking; it can draw out and enhance flavors. Bitters are the backbone of any good cocktail; skip them, and the drink tastes flat.

Emma Rose

Lemon Twist

Lemon Twist: This isn't just for a fancy look; the oils released by twisting lemon peel over the drink add a bright, zesty note. Without it, the drink loses a layer of aroma and character—it's like having a sonnet without the last line.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Japanese Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add 2 oz of cognac, 0.5 oz of orgeat syrup, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters.
  3. Stir the mixture until well chilled.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Pro Tips

  • Cognac: Use a high-quality cognac for a smoother taste.
  • Orgeat Syrup: Homemade orgeat syrup can enhance the flavor.
  • Chilling: Ensure the cocktail is well chilled before serving to bring out the flavors.

Perfect Pairings

Sushi and Sashimi

The Japanese cocktail with its almond notes from orgeat and warmth from cognac pairs splendidly with sushi, particularly with items like nigiri or sashimi. The citrus twist adds a fresh aroma that complements the delicacy of raw fish.


Crispy tempura, whether it’s vegetables or seafood, would contrast nicely with the smooth texture of the cocktail. The cocktail's sweetness also provides a balance to the savory umami flavors of the tempura batter.


Grilled skewers of chicken yakitori with a slightly charred flavor would be greatly enhanced by the caramel notes of cognac. The sweetness of the orgeat can cut through the smokiness, making for a harmonious pairing.

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What you could change in Japanese

  • Cognac: Brandy can be used as a substitute.
  • Orgeat Syrup: Almond syrup can be used if orgeat is not available.
  • Angostura Bitters: Other aromatic bitters can be used.

Explore all drinks starting with J here

And of course - twists🍹

Green Tea Infused Cognac

Ingredients: Infuse the cognac with green tea leaves for an Asian twist. Replace orgeat with honey syrup.

Recipe: Follow the original recipe, infusing cognac with green tea leaves for about 2 hours before use. Use honey syrup instead of orgeat.

The green tea will give the cocktail a slight bitterness and herbal notes, while the honey adds sweetness and a floral aroma, offering a different kind of complexity to the original recipe.

Sakura Blossom

Ingredients: Add a cherry blossom liqueur or sakura syrup to the recipe.

Recipe: Use 1.75 oz of cognac, 0.25 oz cherry blossom liqueur/sakura syrup, 0.5 oz orgeat, and 2 dashes of bitters.

This cocktail will have a delicate cherry blossom note, ideal for springtime. The sakura adds a light floral sweetness and a beautiful pink hue.

Yuzu and Ginger

Ingredients: Replace lemon twist with yuzu peel, add a small piece of fresh ginger.

Recipe: Muddle the ginger in the mixing glass before adding the other ingredients. Use yuzu peel instead of lemon for garnishing.

Yuzu's tartness and ginger's spiciness provide a zesty, warming twist with a bright fresh kick, enhancing the drink's Asian character.

In case you forgot basics how to make Japanese

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Japanese

Why is it called a Japanese cocktail if it's not of Japanese origin?

While the cocktail is not of Japanese origin, it was named in honor of a Japanese dignitary visiting the United States.

How can I make my own orgeat syrup for the Japanese cocktail?

While making orgeat syrup at home could be time-consuming, it is possible. All you need are blanched almonds, sugar, water, and orange flower water.

What other drinks can I make with these ingredients?

The main ingredient, Cognac, can be used in a variety of cocktails like the Sidecar and French 75. Orgeat syrup also stars in the classic Mai Tai.

What type of glass is most suitable to serve this cocktail?

The Japanese cocktail is preferably served in a chilled coupe glass to enhance its visual appeal.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of the Japanese cocktail?

Yes, a non-alcoholic version, sometimes called a mocktail, could be made using almond syrup instead of orgeat syrup, and a non-alcoholic brandy substitute.

Why is it important to use high-quality cognac?

High-quality cognac tends to be smoother, richer and more nuanced than cheaper versions, greatly enhancing the taste and texture of the cocktail.

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