The Art of Making the Perfect Mizuwari Japanese Martini

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The Mizuwari is the Japanese equivalent to the American martini. It’s very popular in Japan largely because of its simplicity, and for everyday drinking, the Japanese prefer whiskey over sake. And just as it is with Japanese dining, where every detail is observed and the senses are honored, so goes this Japanese cocktail.

Japanese Cocktails, the new book by Yuri Kato, provides a rare glimpse into Japanese cocktail culture, and the types of drinks ordered in Japan. This book features over 60 unique cocktails made from typically Japanese choices like sake and shochu, but my favorite recipes feature Japanese whisky (whisky=the way the Japanese spell it).

On the surface, the mizuwari looks simple enough – mix whiskey with water, on the rocks – but its proper execution is demanding.  Ice cubes should be only made from mineral water, and only made into cube form. You’ll need only two. The water also should be mineral water and must be neither too warm or cold. And of course, there’s the famous stirring – exactly 13-1/2 times – no more, no less.

Here is the recipe from her book.

Yuri Kato’s Mizuwari

  • 2 large ice cubes made of frozen mineral water
  • 1 part Japanese whisky (Suntory Hibiki will make the most authentic mizuwari)
  • 1 part mineral water

Add the ice cubes to a large glass.
Add one part whiskey.
Add one part mineral water.
Stir 13 1/2 times.

Now, time to enjoy it!



  1. Wow, Mark. The ice being carved by a skilled bartender! Can you imagine anyone in the US taking the time to do that? Maybe someday, I’ll have the pleasure of traveling to Japan and enjoying a real, time-honored Mizuwari for myself. Thanks for your input!

  2. You are incorrect in ice only being made into cube form, it is more popular for ice to be made into a sphere form in japan when making a mizuwari, the ice may be hand carved by a skilled bartender or made using a machine.

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