The Japanese Bitters
The Japanese Bitters is the world’s first domestically produced aromatic bitters that uses only the finest ingredients born from the natural blessings of Japan. The Japanese Bitters was founded by veteran bartender Yuki Yamazaki, who left Japan in 2003 to bartend in London and, later, Toronto, where he developed a batch of homemade bitters. After studying distillation at the Netherlands’ historic Herman Jansen Distillery in 2015, Yamazaki returned home and obtained a distilling license through the aid of the Hombo Mars Distillery in Nagano. Today, at a facility in Tokyo’s Chiba prefecture, Yamazaki’s small-batch bitters undergo a two- to three-month maceration in alcohol in addition to a sous-vide vacuum decompression, which ensures more consistent quality from batch to batch.
Yamazaki’s current releases focus on three of Japan’s foundational flavours: Shiso, Yuzu and Umami. Mint-like with a faint aroma of cinnamon, the Shiso bitters capture the popular herb’s peculiar grassy flavour, while the Yuzu version, with its floral fragrance and sour flavour, lands somewhere between grapefruit and lime. For his Umami bitters, Yamazaki employs dried kelp, bonito and shiitake mushrooms to alchemise notes of funky fermentation and a touch of astringency while telegraphing the elusive “fifth taste”.