Cocktail Experiment – The Martini


By Edward Washington
Photography by Edward Washington

Cocktails designed and made by the bar team at Sake Restaurant and Bar
12 Argyle Street
The Rocks

What is it that makes a Martini? You’d have to think along the lines that the traditional slant is gin and vermouth mixed together and served neat in a chilled glass. The botanicals of both products compliment one another and have become one of the most recognised drinks in the world. Others might argue however that the whole Martini camp is just a little bit uptight and that the various concoctions served up in Martini glasses and labeled with the ubiquitous ‘tini on the end are the future of martini drinks whether you like it or not. Hmmmmm…not so sure. But what is certain is that the martini in its finest form is a well mixed drink that has equal proportions of heritage, technique and a certain amount of ‘theatre’ performance about it. Half the fun in making a Martini is the prolonged theatrics you can carry on with and the delicacy that it often involves – right down to the whiff of vermouth added from an antique perfume atomizer.


Recently Bartender put the idea of the Martini’s heritage to the team at Sydney’s Sake Restaurant and Bar in the hope of a little bit of cross cultural fusion and some superb drinks, here’s what they came up with. Thanks to Dan and the team for taking time out to get involved.

Harley Scammell

Pokemon Harakiri

Cocktail name: Pokemon Harakiri

  • 40ml Stolichnaya ‘Elit’ Vodka 40% abv
  • 10ml House infused maraschino shochu
  • 10ml Yuzu shochu liqueur
  • 4 drops Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters


Add all ingredients into a stable, thick and non-insulated six ounce glass. Chill the mixture in the freezer so you don’t let the ice to dilute the cocktail. Takes time but it’s worth it. Garnish with yuzu fruit twist.

What Harley Says:

“While the team was waxing lyical about the task, I just wanted to get it done! So I chose the ‘Elite’ and a few amazing ingredients that would compliment the Russian supremacy, put them together and this was the first creation! Boo Yah!

Brett Dowson

Blood-and Smoke

Cocktail name:
Blood and Smoke

  • 60ml 666 Pure Tasmanian Vodka 40%abv
  • 30ml Home made smoked tomato consumé


Add ingredients to a Boston glass and stir briskly using purified ice so as not to dilute the drink. Single strain into a Martini glass and garnish.

What Brett Says:

The 666 vodka philosophy is to invoke ‘mystery, intrigue and desire’, instilling a spirit of pure evil into the vodka. So I wanted to create a drink with intense flavours that you don’t expect, but that grab you and linger. Garnish with red cocktail onions.”

Joonas Heikkinen


Cocktail name:
Chado “The way of the tea”

  • 60ml Genmaicha tea infused Grey Goose Vodka 40% abv
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 4 drops Fee Brothers Whisky Barrel Aged Bitters
  • 10ml Yamazaki 12 year old malt whisky

Infuse the Grey Goose with the tea. Rinse martini glass with the whisky and soak the sugar cube with bitters. Crush sugar cube in a Boston glass and add ice. Pour in vodka; give a quick stir so that you won’t loose the intensity of the drink and strain into a martini glass.

What Joonas Says:

“Genmaicha tea is a Japanese tea with toasted brown rice. I wanted to match it with the Grey Goose for its grainy aromas without compromising the flavour of the vodka. The bitters and the tea give intensity to the drink while the Yamazaki rinse compliments both other ingredients. Drinking mans drink – no garnish. Genius.”

Sam Davenport

The Blind Shogun

Cocktail name: The Blind Shogun

[Image: cocktail in folder]

  • 40ml Junipero Gin 49.3% abv
  • 15ml Amabuki Kome shoschu
  • 30ml Choya Umeshu
  • 3 Shiso leaves
  • 5ml Noilly Pratt ‘dry’ Vermouth (to coat the ice)


Add the shiso leaves to the Boston glass and add ice and vermouth. Strain away excess. Add remaining ingredients and stir blind (eyes closed!) Double strain into a martini glass and garnish with pink grapefruit zest.

What Sam Says:
“Junipero Gin is a very powerful and aromatic style of gin so I wanted to balance it out by using more subtle flavours. I also wanted to give it a distinct sake twist by using shochu and plum wine. The shiso brings through a much needed herbal bitterness as well.”

RJ Singer

Gai Jin

Cocktail name: Gai Jin “Foreigner”

[Image: cocktail in folder]

  • 45ml TMD Lilly Pilly Gin 40% abv
  • 15ml Kozaemon Tokubetsu sake
  • 10ml elderflower cordial
  • 5ml Lemon juice
  • 1 barspoon Earl Grey tea

Add all ingredients in the Boston glass and shake gently so as to not ‘kill’ the gin. Triple strain into a martini glass and garnish with elderflower (optional).

What RJ Says:

“TMD’s Lilly Pilly Gin inspired me to create a cocktail that combines the flavours of both east and west. The bergamot in Earl Grey tea has a distinct aroma that compliments the Lilly Pilly Gin. Elderflower adds a bit of old world sweetness, as do the floral notes of Kozaemon Tokubetsu sake.”

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