My Culinary Tour to Japan group member enjoyed this new beverage (see Photo) this March in Japan at a local restaurant just before arriving to Gokayama village, where 400 to 200 years old thatched roof houses still stand and occupied by the locals in the deep mountain region.
Being attracted by stunning peachy-purple color of the drink, which the Japanese family was enjoying at across our table, we could not stop ordering it. When we tasted it, “wow” sounds echoed over tables. It had definitely unique and refreshing shiso flavor. This drink is made with shiso leaves. At Union Square Market one particular vendor sells organic, excellent shiso so I purchased it and tried my own shiso juice.
The owner of the soba restaurants briefly instructed me how to make it. Cook shiso leaves in water and add citric acid (citric acid changes the color of shiso infused clear-colored water to a bright purple one). Since I do not have citric acid in my kitchen, I used lemon and lime at several different experiments.
Here is the recipe. You should definitely try it while we are in summer. Remember that shiso’s season is summer. Good to cut it with flat water, bubbly water or use as a cocktail base.
Now I am a bit confused. Why my folks in Japan who are obsessed with seasonal ingredients served shiso juice in spring……………..!
1 bunch shiso
3 cups water
6 to 8 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
Bring the water to a boil. Add the shiso leaves and cook it for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the lemon or lime juice and strain through a fine sieve. Add simple syrup to your taste.