If you’re over the same traditional, boring mixed drinks served time and time again at your neighborhood bar, SushiSamba’s latest cocktail menu launch will open your eyes to complex flavor combinations you’ve never even thought of.
SushiSamba is a gorgeous two-story restaurant in the West Village that offers a blend of Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian cuisine. From its outdoor café’s bright orange umbrellas to its year-round rooftop garden oasis adorned with white lanterns and lush foliage, SushiSamba is an ideal place to dine al fresco and temporarily escape from the annoyances of New York City.
I was quite excited to be invited to taste SushiSamba's new lineup of cocktails, which were exclusively created by the Head of Spirit and Cocktail Development, Richard Woods. His original, hand-crafted libations pay homage to Japan, Brazil, and Peruvian culture and are both visually appealing and uniquely delicious. Unlike most cocktail menu launches, Woods’ selection also offers four new virgin cocktails which I can honestly say are as flavorful as the alcoholic ones.
Koko Cold Brew
I would literally drink this every morning to start my day. This caffeinated drink is a combination of cold brew coffee shaken with pineapple, cilantro, and coconut sugar — served long (in a highball glass).
This was one of my favorites. This pretty, light green concoction was a smooth blend of quinoa and rice milk, coconut, vanilla, and matcha infusion. It was creamy and perfectly sweet, without over doing it. Served long and topped with coconut shreds.
This drink was invigorating and crisp. With a lightly carbonated mix of yuzu juice and elderflower mixed with shiso cordial, it came decorated with a whole shiso leaf, served long.
The Suu Izuru was hands down of the most delightful drinks I’ve ever had! This libation was fabulously garnished with dried pineapple, mint, and a mini rose. As a healthy, thirst-quenching mix of aloe and lychee churned with yuzu and pineapple-tarragon syrup, this drink was masterfully created. Served tall.
Samba Serves (Alcoholic)
Koko Cold Brew
Similar to its virgin counterpart, this libation is a caffeinated mix of cold brew coffee-infused Bacardi rum shaken with pineapple, cilantro, and coconut sugar — served long.
This spicy ginger drink is similar to a classic Moscow mule, but with an Asian twist. With a lightly carbonated mix of vodka, lime, ginger, coconut miso reduction, and pineapple-tarragon syrup, this zesty and energizing mix is garnished with a piece of candied ginger, mint, and a slice of candied lime. Served long.
Snow Pea GnT
This innovative take on the classic gin and tonic is one of the most interesting drinks I’ve ever had. This fresh libation is a powerful, fragrant twist on the timeless classic made with snow pea and edamame infused Bombay Dry gin and tonic water. Though the essence of snow pea and edamame is strong in this cocktail, it comes through as extremely refreshing and barely sweet. Served long.
I really loved this mix of Brazilian and Peruvian flavors which features Diplomatico rum, plantain purée, and aromatized wine shaken with egg white, banana, cacao, and coffee infusion — served on the rocks. I normally wouldn’t like any banana-like flavors in my cocktails, but this flavor combination of plantains, rum, and coffee was incredible.
Bartender and creative mind behind this new selection of cocktails, Woods is known for his inventive craftsmanship and avant-garde approach to beverage. He’s also a winner of the U.K.’s “Most Imaginative Bartender Award” and clearly isn’t afraid of trying out new ingredients and elements in his mission to deliver excellent, surprisingly good drinks.
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