The Tasting Panel magazine

Oct 09

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30 / the tasting panel / october 2009 D espite the phenomenon that soju—a clear Asian distilled spirit—is the number-one-selling beverage in the world, few in the West have latched on to this low-calorie alternative to vodka. Enter TY KU, who first introduced us to TY KU Premium Liqueur, a blend of tradi- tional Asian spirits with delicious superfruits and teas. With its recognizable illuminating green bottle, the brand created a new cat- egory of beverages for consumers who care about what they put in their bodies. TY KU next shattered the saké stereotype with black-bottled TY KU Saké, a super- premium junmai ginjo, and again with TY KU White, a junmai daiginjo saké produced using traditional Japanese brewing tech- niques, under the watchful eye of the most decorated toji (saké master) in all of Japan. Introducing TY KU Soju "As a spirit, soju has not even scratched the surface of familiarity here in the U.S.," says Mary Thompson, Assistant Beverage Manager at Chaya Downtown. "TY KU has done something wonderful: It brings brand- ing to the category." Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Chaya Brasserie first opened in Beverly Hills and then blossomed into Venice, Califor- nia, and San Francisco; this past March, it opened in Downtown Los Angeles. Thomp- son, who oversees the beverage program for the Downtown location, believes that drinking soju is "drinking wiser," especially at 48 proof. "Downtown Chaya was the first account to bring in TY KU Soju," she tells THE TAST- ING PANEL; by doing so—and by selling huge volumes—it now numbers among the brand's top ten accounts in the United States. "There are other sojus on the market," admits Thompson, "but when I tasted TY KU Soju, it offered up am invitingly clean, soft citrus profile, with delicate floral notes. Other sojus I tasted came across aggres- sive and angular. TY KU Soju fits the American palate." Its simple, pure ingredients—handpicked barley and spring water from cedar for- ests—originate from Japan, and TY KU Soju contains no additives or sweeteners. It was awarded a medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition as the highest rated non-aged soju. Practical Wisdom story and photos by Meridith May Adopting TY KU Soju, Mary Thompson of L.A.'s new Chaya Downtown crafts a health-conscious house drink that matches the restaurant's market-fresh Japanese cuisine At the decorous bar at Chaya Downtown, TY KU sales managers Kelly Reid and Tami Donald introduce us to TY KU Soju. Mary Thompson of Chaya Downtown in Los Angeles is a fan of TY KU Soju and has cre- ated a house cocktail called the Japanese White Lotus Blossom to showcase the spirit's unique flavor profile. "It's my spin on the Cos- mo, which is soju-based instead of vodka- based—a twist on the now-NYC phenom. It's more Sex and Tokyo than Sex and the City," she laughs. a signature drink by Mary Thompson Chaya Downtown's Japanese White Lotus Blossom 2 oz. TY KU Soju 1¼ oz. white cran- berry juice ¾ oz. orange liqueur ½ oz. fresh lime juice Shake, strain into a Martini glass and garnish with a lime twist.

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