With the city under some form of emergency rules restricting alcohol sales for most of 2021, getting a cocktail in Tokyo has not been easy this year. But now that the recent state of emergency has been up and venues can serve alcohol until 9 p.m., drinkers – and their favorite bars – are ready to party.
Virtù, the cocktail bar on the 39th floor of the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo in Otemachi, marks the occasion with a slew of nine new cocktails on its special reopening menu. The bar has more reason to celebrate than most – Virtù’s first birthday was in September 2021, but the bar was closed due to the emergency.
Despite all his dazzling novelty, Virtù also has a strong sense of history. Entrance to the bar is through a hallway-length library lined with books on food and drink from around the world. Once inside, it’s hard to know where to look first. Floor-to-ceiling windows face east, offering spectacular views across Kanda towards the Sumida River, with the Tokyo Skytree in the background.
If the entrance is a library, the bar is an encyclopedia. The presented collections of cognac and whiskey in ornate bottles give the greatest clue to the theme. Virtù is to mix Tokyo and Paris, and the new cocktail menu does it with a delicious effect. There are five new East-meets-West creations on the reopening menu, starting at 1,898 each.
AKA The Tomato is a lighter, spicier version of a Bloody Mary, using tomato-based shochu and hot sauce for a flavorful twist. The pie The orchard is a blend of eaux-de-vie from Japan and France with grapefruit, lime juice and apricot liqueur.
For something more refreshing, the Fortunella Spritz combines Japanese kumquat liqueur, Lillet Blanc and Champagne with a sprig of rosemary as a garnish.
The two heavyweights of the new menu are The Matou and the Mendiant Whiskey. The first is a twist on the classic 18th century martinez cocktail – it’s a heady mix of Japanese Old Tom gin and French aperitifs Dubonnet Rouge and Picon. Meanwhile, Whiskey Mendiant is a rich nightcap made of sherry, benedict, chocolate bitters and Japanese single malt whiskey.
Alongside these new drinks, four special seasonal concoctions celebrate fall and Halloween (from 2,500). These limited-time cocktails include Cavalier Sans Tête (meaning the Headless Horseman in French), a tangy blend of ginger, lime, bitter, Nikka apple brandy and vodka. There are also five non-alcoholic cocktails made from different Japanese teas (from 2,530).
These new cocktails should be available until just before Christmas. But if 2021 has taught us anything, it’s this: never wait to do the things you want.
No more news
Immersive Gucci exhibit takes place on Tokyo’s Tennozu Island
Yakiniku Like in Tokyo now offers unlimited drinks for just 550
Atami is hosting a festival this month with a 40-minute fireworks display
Poll: Japan is one of the most expensive countries for Michelin-starred restaurants
Snow Peak has a glamping facility in Arashiyama, Kyoto designed by Kengo Kuma
Want to be the first to find out what’s cool in Tokyo? Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates from Tokyo and Japan.