White Ice at Umami

Move over Tokyo Snow Pear, give this uniquely Japanese infused drink a try

Ask any bartender and she’ll tell you: there’s always one cocktail on the menu that goes undeservedly overlooked. Such is the case at Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar, where the ugly duckling is the White Ice. Chalk it up to the name, which suffers in comparison to the more fanciful Tokyo Snow Pear and Hokkaido Breeze, two of Umami’s most popular drinks. More likely people are intimidated by the cocktail’s dubious-sounding ingredient, Calpico, described on the menu as “Japanese yogurt-flavored.”  

“People are wary because they have no idea what Calpico is,” says bar manager Ashley Ringelstetter. “They think it’s yogurt.”

Yogurt and rice wine? No thanks. But Calpico, it turns out, is a milky, sweet-sour Japanese drink, lovely on its own and even tastier in a cocktail. Shaken with sake and dashed with club soda, it’s effervescent and faintly acidic, its cloudy appearance and creamy mouthfeel reminiscent of unfiltered sake.

Order one, and you might be the only one drinking it. But you’ll make the bartender happy.

RECIPE: White Ice

Splash club soda
Maraschino cherry
3 oz. Ozeki Junmai or other dry sake
1 1/2 oz. Calpico (available at Asian grocery stores)

Add club soda and cherry to glass. Shake sake and Calpico in shaker with ice. Strain into glass. 

Recipe courtesy of Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar, 923 Williamson St., 819-6319, umamimadison.com

Find more Hip Sips recipes here

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