Drinks Recipes

Cocktail hour: Ante’s House Whisky Highball cocktail

Mirin gives an interesting depth of flavour to the classic whisky Highball cocktail
Whisky Highball cocktail in two stemless glasses
How to make a whisky Highball cocktail
Kristina Šoljo

Mirin might not be the first ingredient people would think to add to a mixed drink, but the long-established Ogasawara Brewery in Hekinan doesn’t produce ordinary mirin. Naturally made by hand without any additives and aged for a minimum of four years, it has a gentle sweetness that’s a far cry from the syrupy, saccharine stuff usually found on supermarket shelves.

“I’ve been using this mirin for years, mainly when cooking at home but it’s also super delicious to sip on its own,” says importer Matt Young, who brings the umami-rich and amber-tinted flavour enhancer into Australia under his Black Market Sake banner.

At Ante, the sake-focused listening bar Young co-owns with chef and partner Jemma Whiteman in Sydney’s Newtown, mirin features prominently in the top-billed House Whisky Highball. The decision to include the condiment may not have been a calculated one but Young admits it has paid dividends.

“Sometimes customers do a double-take when they see it listed in the description,” he says, “but using it in the [whisky Highball cocktail] recipe gives the drink a wonderful depth and complexity that whisky on its own can’t provide. It changes people’s perception, for sure.”

How to make Ante’s House Whisky Highball cocktail

Combine 45ml Japanese whisky and 15ml Ogasawara Isshi Soden mirin (see note) in a chilled highball glass. Fill the glass with ice and stir for 15 seconds to integrate and dilute the ingredients. Top up with strong soda water and stir gently to combine. To finish, twist a thin zest of lemon over the top of the glass to release the oils and discard.

Whiskies to try

White Oak Akashi NAS Single Malt Whisky bottle

White Oak Akashi NAS Single Malt Whisky

This malty and pleasantly spiced small-batch whisky from just west of Kobe is Young’s weapon of choice for Highballs.

$120 for 500ml, kentstreetcellars.com.au

Suntory Kakubin Whisky

First launched in 1937, Suntory’s unmistakeable square bottle remains a perennial go-to for its versatility and mild honey sweetness.

$72 for 700ml, nicks.com.au

Nikka Whisky from the Barrel

A powerhouse blended whisky, bottled at cask strength and pulsing with vanilla, pear, stone fruit and cereal grain flavours.

$115 for 500ml, danmurphys.com.au

Ogasawara Isshi Soden mirin is available from selected stockists and blackmarketsake.com.


Related stories