Something pink to sip after you snap your cherry blossom photos


March 22, 2013 by admin

It’s hinting spring in Seattle even though it’s still oh so chilly and cold. (Mark your calendars, there is actually snow today!  Yes, in March!) This year I totally want to get family pics in front of the gorgeous cherry blossom trees that dot our neighborhoods and fill our streets with fluffy pink snow.  Picking just the right tree though will be part of the adventure.


A few weeks ago I had another adventure looking for a fruit called yuzu to try out this drink recipe by a really cool chef from Macy’s Culinary Council named Takashi Yagihashi (I totally want to try his Takashi restaurant if I ever get to go to Chicago!):

Yuzu Ginger Lemonade: serves 8


Ginger-Lemongrass Syrup: 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) water
1 cup sugar
2-ounce piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1-ounce piece fresh lemongrass, bulb end only, finely chopped.

1 cup (8 ounces) bottled yuzu juice 1 cup (8 ounces) cranberry juice
ice cubes
2 cups  (16 ounces) citrong vodka
5 cups (1 1/4 quarts) ginger ale
8 mint sprigs for garnish

To make the ginger-lemongrass syrup in a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, ginger and lemongrass and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Simmer for 20 minutes, or until a light syrup forms.  Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a container.  Let cool, cover tightly and refrigerate until serving or for up to 1 month.  You should have 1 cup.

In a 1-quart pitcher, combine the syrup, yuzu juice and cranberry juice and stir to mix well.

To make each drink, fill a Collins glass with ice cubes.  Pour 6 tablespoons (3 ounces of the yuzu mixture) 1/4 cup of the citron vodka and 2/3 cup of the ginger ale into the glass.  Stir 2 or 3 times.  Garnish with a mint sprig and serve immediately.

If you’ve never heard of Yuzu, it’s a little citrus fruit that looks a little bit like a lemon that grows in Japan.  It’s actually very popular in Kochi, the little Japanese town my family comes from (I’m half Japanese) but I found it super-difficult to find.  I tried my favorite Japanese store in Vancouver Canada: Fujiya. (It’s also a really great place to get inexpensive sushi and authentic bento boxes if you’re ever up there.)


I bought this product


thinking it might be what I needed but it turned out to be super salty.  I still need to check Uwajimaya in Seattle and they’ll probably have it because they seem to have EVERYTHING too and if they don’t have it, I don’t know where we’ll ever find it.

I ended up just using a combination of lemon and lime to fulfill the yuzu part and I loved the way it combined with the lemon-grass ginger syrup.  When I actually find some yuzu, I’m  going to make this recipe again to enjoy while I look at my cherry blossom pics.  (And if you make it sans-vodka it’s a neat lemonade drink the littles might enjoy too.)


(PS. I received the trays under the drinks from the Everywhere Society.  The trays are part of a program called Heart of Haiti that helps artisans in Haiti through their sales.  I’m also tempted to buy this Banana Leaf vase and this gorgeous soapstone dove  because I love shopping that gives back in some way.  And yes, these opinions are definitely my own.)


  1. Ahhh! Cherry blossoms… I hope that I will be able to see some during my visit in May. I’ve never seen in real life. I missed cherry blossom season when I visited Japan after I finished university 🙁

    Yuzu… I have had this before – or I have seen it in dishes that I’ve ordered when we go out to eat but I forget what it tastes like. I will have to pay attention next time I go out to eat!

  2. […] going to Japanese school, shopping and eating around the city.  Some mornings we’d stop in at Fujiya, a shop that’s still there selling Japanese pantry products and really yummy and inexpensive […]

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