Ingredients: Dark rum, shiso, lemon, sparkling wine
Background: Whaling in Oklahoma’s Colin Mason opts for Plantation rum’s vanilla notes in this effervescent take on an Old Cuban. “It makes the shiso pop,” he says, adding that this drink aligns with the bar program at chef/owner Tim Maslow’s just-opened Japanese restaurant. “We’re trying to keep things simple—but interesting. For me, that means taking one spirit and one ingredient and mixing them together.” For his Yushun Day, Mason elevates a Brown Derby by introducing miso paste, and the electric green Neon Forest mixes aloe and kaffir lime-infused Midori melon liqueur.
Pair it with: A dessert ($7). Forget peaches and cream—Mason’s about peaches and shiso. The cocktail’s herbaceousness complements the dish that’s topped with toasted soybean powder and a brown sugar syrup.
New (high)ball game: A Suntory Toki machine pumps out a chilled, crisp whisky soda that’s super-carbonated, while the menu also offers seasonal spins (at the moment, peach and watermelon) that fit into the front bar’s lighter, citrus-forward menu.
Out back: Find a darker, hunter lodge-style bar that’s pouring stirred, spirit-forward cocktails from a growing collection of Japanese whiskys that match the moodier lighting and taxidermy-filled walls.
Elsewhere: There’s no shortage of sakes—sparkling, cupped, canned and by-the-glass and bottle. Mason’s pick is the Yuki No Bosha ($12): “It has this ripe fruit characteristic while still being dry.” Japanese beers mingle with local craft options, while a globe-trotting wine list includes bright whites and younger reds.
Whaling in Oklahoma 647 Tremont St., Boston (617-266-4600) whalinginoklahoma.com