Tokyo Drift

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Cocktail History

The Tokyo Drift is a modern cocktail that was created by Brad Farran in Raleigh, North Carolina. Named for the third installment in the Fast & Furious movie franchise, the recipe is another take on the classic Manhattan template that calls for Japanese whisky as the base spirit in place of rye and mixes it with sweet vermouth, cardamom liqueur, and herbal Strega liqueur.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Japanese Whisky: This is a type of whiskey made in Japan with grain, malted barley, corn, and water. We used Suntory Toki Blended Japanese Whisky because it has a delicious sweet and spicy finish. For a low-proof version of this drink, try The Gospel Responsible Rye Non-Alcoholic Whiskey in place of the whisky.

Sweet Vermouth: This is a fortified wine made with grapes, sugar, botanicals, herbs, sugar, and alcohol. We used Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth because it’s a high quality vermouth with dark notes of herbs, figs, licorice, cinnamon, and cocoa. For a low-proof version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Rosso in place of the sweet vermouth.

Cardamaro: This is an amaro made in Italy with botanicals, herbs, spices, and wine.

Liquore Strega: This is a liqueur made in Italy with saffron, juniper berries, herbs, spices, and alcohol. For a low-proof version of this drink, try saffron and herb syrup in place of the Liquore Strega.

Lemon Twist: This is the peel of a lemon that has been twisted into a corkscrew shape.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Mixing Glass: This is used to hold the ingredients while they’re being stirred. We used the Viski 17 oz Cocktail Mixing Glass.

Bar Spoon: This is used to stir ingredients. We used the Barfly Stainless Steel Teardrop Bar Spoon.

Julep Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is stirred. We used the A Bar Above Julep Strainer.

Peeler: This is used to remove the garnish peel from the citrus. We used the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set.

Tasting Notes

The Tokyo Drift features the aroma of lemon oil, a taste made up of malty whisky that is complemented with sweet vermouth’s herbal qualities along with a touch of the Cardamaro’s bitterness, and an aftertaste that leaves a slight peated flavor in the throat on the swallow.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: We were pretty aligned on how much more we liked this recipe than its predecessor, the classic Manhattan. The Tokyo Drift did end up being a little too serious for Kendall, but Alex especially liked this variation given how much he enjoys sipping on Japanese whisky.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“The Tokyo Drift was, to me, a much better variation of a Manhattan than the original. The malty whiskey lends a lot of flavor without much aggressiveness, while the Cardamaro and Chartreuse (in place of Strega, which we could’nt find) combination lent plenty of herbaceousness in place of the bitters. As I’ve said, the classic Manhattan is not a favorite of mine, and this is yet another riff on it that I tend to like just a bit more.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“Alex described this as a Manhattan-style drink, and I think that’s a correct description. I also think that’s why I didn’t care for it all that much. This is one serious, boozy whisky cocktail, and I’m not big on those in general unless I’m in a specific mood. In taste alone, this recipe is quite good, especially compared to the Manhattan. It has a lot more complexity, which I liked a lot.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum.

Sale
The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks with 150 Recipes
The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks with 150 Recipes
Hardcover Book; Editors of PUNCH (Author); English (Publication Language); 352 Pages – 09/05/2017 (Publication Date) – Ten Speed Press (Publisher)
$13.05 Amazon Prime

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail Book

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 2 oz Japanese Whisky
 ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
 ½ oz Cardamaro
 1 tsp Liquore Strega
 1 Lemon Twist

Method
1

Add whisky, sweet vermouth, Cardamaro, Liquore Strega, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon twist.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Japanese Whisky
 ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
 ½ oz Cardamaro
 1 tsp Liquore Strega
 1 Lemon Twist

Directions

Method
1

Add whisky, sweet vermouth, Cardamaro, Liquore Strega, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon twist.

Tokyo Drift

Make It a Mocktail: Use The Gospel Responsible Rye Non-Alcoholic Whiskey in place of the whisky, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Rosso in place of the sweet vermouth, and saffron and herb syrup in place of the Liquore Strega to try a low-proof version of this drink.

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More Whiskey Cocktails

If you like this whiskey-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that are similar that you may enjoy:

Conference Cocktail Recipe

Conference: A whiskey and brandy cocktail made with Demerara syrup, aromatic bitters, chocolate bitters, an orange twist, and a lemon twist

Remember The Maine Cocktail Recipe

Remember The Maine: A rye cocktail made with sweet vermouth, cherry liqueur, absinthe, and a cherry

Sforzando Cocktail Recipe

Sforzando: A whiskey and mezcal cocktail made with dry vermouth, Bénédictine, xocolatl mole bitters, and an orange twist

Midnight Stinger Cocktail Recipe

Midnight Stinger: A rye cocktail made with Fernet-Branca, lemon juice, simple syrup, and mint

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