Sake Vermouth

Rethinking Homemade Vermouth

Part 2: Sake & Shochu

Wormwood Steeping To Make Vermouth


Sake Vermouth

Made by Jena Ellenwood

Yep, I get it: sake isn’t wine and Shochu isn’t sherry so technically this isn’t a vermouth as there is nary a grape in sight. I did, however, include wormwood this time around so yay me for following a rule! If you cannot source wormwood  (or do not want a hint of bitter) you may omit it or replace with sage, it’s technically the same family of plant. This recipe took quite a bit of trial and error so I hope you enjoy! It’s great as a highball (yuzu soda is fab) and I also dig it in a 2:1 Martini riff using white rum and lemon peel. Kanpai!

sake vermouth

Let’s Get Buildin’

Makes: 23 oz

Special Tools: Measuring spoons, Measuring cup, tea ball, Lidded jars/bottles, jigger

Difficulty: Easy


720 ml Junmai Sake (I used Hakutsuru)

1 bottle Lemongrass Mizu Shochu

1/8 tsp dried wormwood

1/4 tsp  sansho peppercorns
1/2 tsp chamomile
1 cinnamon stick
1 green cardamom pod, cracked
1/8 tsp coriander
2 dried lemon wheels
2 star anise

1 strip grapefruit zest
10 dried pandan leaves

Honey Syrup (1 part honey to 1 part water)

  1. In a mason jar: combine pandan, grapefruit, and 1 cup Mizu. Infuse for 3 days before removing solids.
  2. Place wormwood in a tea ball and combine in a mason jar with 1/4 cup sake. Infuse for 2 hours, remove tea ball. Store in fridge. 
  3. In a third mason jar, combine the rest of the spices and 2 cups of sake. Infuse 24 hours, strain.
  4. Combine 1.5 TBS honey to 1.5 TBS water.
  5. In a measuring cup, add 1/2 cup Shochu, 2 cups spice infused sake, 1 oz wormwood sake, and 1.25 oz honey syrup. Stir to combine and pour into a jar or bottle. 
  6. Store in fridge
Suzanne Pucker Face

But will I like it?

Cocktail flavor profile

Getting to know your palate, what you like, and what you don’t like is a critical part of being a great craft tippler AND key to becoming a great home bartender as well! So before you break out that barware and buy the key ingredients, here’s a little guidance on what to expect from this cocktail so you can start to hone in on exactly what elements of cocktails you enjoy and which you’d prefer to minimize.  This helps you order new cocktails you love when you’re out on the town better as well!
  • Sweet
  • Spiritous
  • Refreshing
  • Complex/Funky/Unique
  • Bitter

Let me know what you discover, or if you would have rated it differently in the comments below…

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