The Cocktail: Osaka No. 1
The Bar: Foreign National
The Bartender: Eli Hetrick
Drink History Like many cocktails, the Osaka No. 1 has some definitive history, and some less definitive history. It is based on a Scotch drink, the Glasgow. The intriguing ingredient list includes Scotch, dry vermouth, absinthe and Peychaud’s bitters. When Foreign National bartender Eli Hetrick discovered it, he soon found another version, which substitutes lemon juice and the almondy syrup orgeat for bitters and absinthe.
This version made a number of appearances on the Sun Liquor menu when Hetrick was bartending and managing there. When he joined Foreign National, he wanted to develop a version of the drink that matched the transportive style of the bar—a dream of a 1920s Tokyo bar, with glass and bronze coasters, a wavy wall pattern, bronze swans, low tables, a giant mosaic mirror ball, and an attentive and swell staff. He began by subbing Japanese Suntory Whisky Toki for the base Scotch, brought in East Asian yuzu juice (the citrusy bar ingredient of the moment) to accompany the lemon and orgeat, and changed dry vermouth for the house blanc vermouth blend. After collaborating with bar manager Adam Fortuna (formerly of Artusi) and other bartenders (they work closely in designing drinks to find the perfect proportions), and adding a spritz of Ardbeg Scotch, he ended up with an enchanting layered drink that travels far beyond its ancestors in taste.
The Twist To top off a mysterious pedigree and fascinating ingredients, you need a unique finish; Hetrick uses smoke from an anise clove here. The drink’s glass traps the smoke (see recipe), providing a lush, smoky aroma and another stop on the drink’s flavor voyage. An ideal match for the small, dimly lit, exquisite bar.
The Tools You’ll need a sturdy lighter (I suggest a long fireplace lighter—it’s safer), a spritzer to deliver a spray of Scotch (available online and at kitchen stores) and a star anise clove (available at spice shops or grocery store).
Osaka No. 1 recipe
Star anise clove
1½ ounces Suntory Whisky Toki
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce yuzu juice
½ ounce Foreign National house blanc vermouth blend (see recipe below)
.33 ounce Giffard orgeat Spritz of Ardbeg Scotch
» Carefully light the star anise clove on fire on a burn-proof surface. Cover with an overturned coupe glass to extinguish the flames and encapsulate the smoke.
» Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Suntory Whisky Toki, lemon juice, yuzu juice, Foreign National house blanc vermouth blend and Giffard orgeat.
» Shake well. Double strain into the glass used to trap the anise smoke. Spritz the top of the drink with the Scotch.
The coupe is a perfect glass for trapping the smoke from the anise clove and unleashing the drink’s magic
Foreign National House Blanc Vermouth Blend
To get a blanc vermouth that the bartenders thought was exactly right for their cocktails, they created their own. It’s a blend that delivers increased body, more herbaceousness and a little sweetness.
Foreign National Blanc Vermouth
Makes 1,500 milliliters (2 regular-size spirit or liqueur bottles)
600 milliliters Dolin dry vermouth
450 milliliters Carpano Bianco vermouth
225 milliliters Cocchi Apertivo Americano
225 milliliters Tempus Fugit Kina L’Aéro d’Or 1.
» Mix everything together. Pour carefully into bottles.