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Cocktail pairings: Hopscotch

Industry experts share their insights into matching food with drinks by giving real-world examples of dishes and the beverages that they serve with them.

The dish: Beef Tataki, thin rare-seared beef strips with yuzu kosho, nagaimo and radish, $12    

The cocktail: Whisky Highball, made with Satsuma Shiranami Mugi Shochu, seltzer and yuzu, $10

The pairing: The classic highball of whiskey and soda is very popular in Japan, but I think it kills the palate and makes it hard to appreciate delicate flavors. So instead I use the milder, lower-alcohol spirit of shochu. Specifically, I use Satsuma Shiranami Mugi Shochu, which is aged in sherry casks. That aging gives it a subtle sense of whiskey satisfaction, while allowing the palate to remain fresh and receptive. We top it with seltzer and add a few drops of yuzu juice.

The beef tataki is a contrast of unctuous raw beef and crisp raw radish and nagaimo. Rather than providing contrast, the cocktail helps to bring the whole dish together, soothing the slight burn of the yuzu kosho and softly refreshing the palate between bites.

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