Usher in spring with these cherry blossom-inspired cocktails

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Every spring in Vancouver, a natural phenomenon takes place that brings the city out of its grey and rainy gloom. The annual blooming of cherry blossoms across the city, or sakura in Japanese, is a tell-tale sign that ‘Raincouver’ weather is starting to change and summer is just around the corner. The beautiful blooms are a way more striking (and err, accurate) sign of the season than a groundhog, if you ask me!

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SEE ALSO: 21 best spots to see cherry blossoms in Vancouver

Cherry blossoms have inspired many a work of art over the centuries thanks to their transient nature and stunning beauty, and are strongly symbolic in Japanese culture where they’re often depicted in art, film and music. As a ‘cocktail artist’ of sorts, I look forward to this time of year as an opportunity to create new floral-infused libations for your drinking enjoyment.

Here are two of my newest cherry blossom-inspired creations to help you usher in spring:

1. ‘Nitobe Garden’

Photo courtesy Tealeaves

Photo courtesy Tealeaves

This cocktail is named after the famous Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia. A balance of lush green and spectacular pink, this cocktail is unbelievably rich in texture, yet light and refreshing. The aroma itself will transport you across the ocean to the tranquil and romantic forests of Japan.

Ingredients:

  • 0.25 oz Giffard Lichi Li Lychee Liqueur
  • 1 oz Granville Island Sake
  • 0.5 oz Absolut Craft Herbaceous Lemon
  • 0.5 oz Tealeaves Cherry Blossom Green Tea Syrup*
  • 0.25 oz Tencha Matcha High Energy Paste*
  • 0.25 oz Lemon Juice

*Tealeaves Cherry Blossom Green Tea Syrup

  • 2 cups Turbinado Sugar
  • 2 cups Boiling Water
  • 2 tbsp Tealeaves Cherry Blossom Green

Combine boiling water with turbinado sugar and cherry blossom green tea. Stir until sugar dissolves. Let cool for 4 hours and strain ingredients. Bottle remaining syrup and keep refrigerated.

*Tencha Matcha High Energy Paste

  • 2 tablespoons Tealeaves Tencha Matcha High Energy powder
  • 4 ounces of Cold Water

Add matcha powder to a bowl and slowly add water while whisking into a paste. Continue until all the powder has dissolved. Place remaining paste in a squeeze bottle and keep refrigerated.

Method:

  • Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
  • Double strain to a pre-chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with dried cherry blossom petals.

2. ‘Sakura’

Photo courtesy Tealeaves

Photo courtesy Tealeaves

This is a light and refreshing cocktail inspired by my favourite spring drink, the Tom Collins. This concoction highlights the renowned Central City Brewing Company‘s amazing single malt gin (made in Surrey, B.C.), and is infused with a delightful cherry blossom essence thanks to Tealeaves’ Cherry Blossom Green Tea.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Central City Brewing Company Seraph Gin
  • 0.75 oz Lime Juice
  • 0.75 oz Tealeaves Cherry Blossom Green Tea Syrup* (see recipe above)
  • 0.25 oz Bremner’s Cranberry Juice
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 3 oz Fentimans Tonic Water

Method:

  • Combine all ingredients, except tonic water, in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
  • Strain over fresh ice in a collins glass.
  • Top with tonic water and garnish with fresh or dehydrated cherry blossoms.

If you have any questions or feedback on the cocktails above, come and say hello at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar where they’re served exclusively on the menu throughout the spring season.

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About the author

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Justin Taylor A renowned bartender and cocktail creator, Justin Taylor has been a fixture in the industry in both Toronto and Vancouver for the better part of two decades. As Bar Manager at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, located at the iconic Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver, Justin continues to stir up the Vancouver bartending scene with a heady mix of knowledge, panache, wit and hospitality.
@taylormixology

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