It’s sakura (cherry blossom) season and the lovely pink blossoms are resplendent across Japan and in Washington DC here in the US. The blossoms call to mind the beauty and magic in the world, as does this charming puzzle box from Yoh Kakuda of the Karakuri Creation Group. I’ve paired this whimsical box with a special Japanese themed twist on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail. The Old Fashioned is essentially the original cocktail, an American invention form the early 1800’s. The first description appeared in an 1806 newspaper describing a “cocktail” as a combination of spirits, bitters, water and sugar. It was finally referred to as the “Old Fashioned” in 1881 at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Nowadays, a “classic” Old Fashioned has bourbon, ice, and a bitters soaked sugar cube, although other versions which include orange and maraschino cherries are debatable.


For the “Doggone Old Fashioned”, this special Japanese themed version named after a character from the “Story of Po”, I’ve used an exquisite Japanese whisky, the Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve. The Yamazaki was named best whisky in the world in 2015. For the sugar I created a special Umeshu Plum Wine syrup which is incredibly delicious. The bitters are replaced with cherry blossom oil essence, aromatized across the top of the glass. One sip and you’ll be transported directly to Tokyo. Here’s to the timeless beauty of life. Kampai!

Doggone Old Fashioned

2 oz Yamazaki whisky

¼ oz umeshu plum wine syrup

Cherry blossom essence

In a mixing glass, stir the whiskey and syrup with ice. Strain into an old fashioned glass with a large cube. Spray the cherry blossom oil over the drink or add a few drops directly. Enjoy while contemplating the meaning of life.


For more about this adorable puzzle box and the story behind it see:

Boxes and Booze: What has Life Tortoise?

For prior variations of the Old Fashioned see:

Inside Out

Time Passages

Fairytales and Treasures