Shake Up, Drink Down: the Sunflower from New York City’s Sushi Ginza Onodera

A sake sommelier shares her recipe for a refreshingly complex cocktail

The Sunflower cocktail by sake sommelier Yuki Minakawa

Sushi Ginza Onodera, the only two Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant in the country, is launching its first-ever cocktail program under the direction of Yuki Minakawa. Minakawa started out working in other top Japanese restaurants like Masa, EN Japanese Brasserie, and Kajitsu, first as front of house before becoming a certified sake sommelier and pivoting her focus to cocktails.

Featured on her inaugural list is the Sunflower—the perfect example of her approach to Japanese spirits and sake as she likes to marry them with housemade liqueurs, orgeat, and infusions. For this one she makes an orgeat with a Japanese twist, adding shiso-infused vodka and orange blossom extract to an almond liqueur base. The drink takes its name from the Amabuki Himawari “Sunflower” sake used as the main ingredient—which in turn is named for the sunflower yeast added in the brewing process—while the kabosu juice (a Japanese citrus fruit) brings a refreshing quality to the complex cocktail.

Sunflower | Yuki Minakawa, Sushi Ginza Onodera
2.0 oz. Amabuki Himawari
0.5 oz. Kabosu juice
1.0 oz. homemade orgeat liquor
0.5 oz. simple syrup


Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake lightly for approximately 5 seconds. Double strain and serve in wine glass.