Savvy Sips: Sakura Sayonara

Bid Goodbye To Sakura With This Stylish Home-Made Cocktail

By Lauren Shannon
April 3, 2020
Food & Drink

Who needs a drink? We do. Join us in our Savvy Sips and become the best home-bartender ever. This month, we unwind while sipping a delicious and terribly simple to make sakura-inspired cocktail.

These days, fancy cocktail bars, and magical mixologists are getting almost as famous as TV chefs. But we don’t have to wait to only have delicious—and expensive—drinks on weekends at a luxury bar: we can make Instagram worthy, refreshing and enjoyable cocktails at home. 


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Learning to cook at home, creating new dishes can be fun and satisfying, and certainly so can DIY Home Bartending! My years in the restaurant industry and my work in tourism in Japan have inspired me to set up my own home bar celebrating Japanese flavors and seasonal specialties. In this series, I would love to share my cocktail creations with Savvy Tokyo readers. 

For setting up your own home bar kit, you do not need anything too elaborate. You can use what you have: believe us, it will all work out in the end. Over the next few articles, I will share my recommended bar kit, but this week’s recipe can be done with your everyday home kitchen tools. 


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For our first foray into making original cocktails at home, let’s have some fun with the Sakura season. As the cherry blossoms are slowly leaving us in the Tokyo area—especially after our surprise snowstorm last weekend—it’s time to give a nice farewell to the blossoms beverage. It’s decided for this month’s drink: a sakura-cocktail.

Our first creation is a champagne cocktail celebrating the floral sweetness and saltiness of sakura mochi and other sakura flavored treats. The key to this recipe is actually to combine all of those flavor elements! I also recommend enjoying this sakura cocktail with some bar snacks, mixes of salty and flowery sweetness. The cocktail can read a little sweet, so a salty-sweet snack will create more balance on your palate. 

Sakura Sayonara Recipe

This is a really simple 4 ingredient drink that everyone can mix at-home!  


For this sakura cocktail, I recommend champagne or white wine glass. If you don’t have those in hand, it would also work in a tall collins style glass.

Savvy Sips: Sakura Sayonara Sakura Cocktail

A collins glass. To look like a pro bartender, don’t neglect your presentation!


  • 2 parts Sakura liqueur 
  • 1 part St-Germain, an elderflower liqueur. You can replace it with any flower liqueur or Grand Marnier
  • ½ part cherry blossom syrup
  • Sparkling wine to top
  • Sweet and salty sakura snacks for the rim

Savvy Sips: Sakura Sayonara Sakura Cocktail

How to Measure Parts:

Cocktails are all about ratios.

One part is any equal part. Think of it as one measure of your jigger or whatever tool you’re measuring with—measuring cups, for example, work. You can even use a small sake cup as your base measurement.

Essentially, one part will become your base or foundation measurement and you will adjust the other ingredients to maintain the ratio.


Start with the rim:

  1. Place a bit of the sakura syrup in a shallow bowl
  2. Finely crumble a sweet and salty sakura snack, I used sakura soybeans on a plate
  3. To garnish the rim, dip the top of the glass in the syrup then into the snack crumble
  4. Set aside

Savvy Sips: Sakura Sayonara Sakura Cocktail

Then onto the actual mixing!

  1. In a mixing glass or shaker filled with one cup of ice, combine sakura liqueur and St-Germain (an Elderflower liqueur with a beautiful bottle that will look great at home and works well in many cocktails) 
  2. Add a small dash of sweet cherry blossom syrup. I recommend the one made by famous syrup maker Monin
  3. Stir to combine and chill for 40-50 seconds in the ice
  4. Strain into the rimmed glass
  5. Top with an equal amount of champagne or sparkling wine—also works with sparkling sake
  6. The final touch: garnish with a cherry blossom

Naming cocktails is a big part of the fun, so I am calling this one “Sakura Sayonara” and toasting to the fleeting but inspiring beauty of cherry blossoms and life! 


If you try this one at home or make other fun cocktails, be sure to share on social media and use the hashtag #SavvySips!

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