Japanese old-fashioned
Japanese Old Fashioned ». Laura Sant

Frequently found in Japanese baking, black sugar, or kuru sato, is made by boiling unrefined sugar cane and has a flavor similar to dark brown sugar. Combined with ginger, it adds spice and a deep molasses flavor to a traditional old fashioned in a recipe from Brooklyn restaurant Shalom Japan.

Japanese Old Fashioned (Kyushiki) Japanese Old Fashioned (Kyushiki)
Black sugar—a common ingredient in Japanese baking—combines with ginger to add spice and a deep molasses flavor to this otherwise traditional old fashioned.
Yield: makes one cocktail

For the Kuru Sato–Ginger Syrup

  • 4 oz. (about 1 cup) kuru sato (Japanese black sugar, available from Kalustyan’s)
  • 12 cup grated ginger

For the Cocktail

  • 1 cube kuru sato (about 1 tsp.)
  • 2 (1/4-inch-thick) slices ginger
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 34 oz. kuru sato-ginger syrup
  • 3 oz. bourbon
  • Orange peel, for garnish


  1. Make the syrup: Combine sugar with ginger and 8 oz. water. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to a simmer; cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and steep ginger for another 5 minutes. Strain mixture and chill. Makes about 1 cup. Syrup will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.
  2. Make the cocktail: In a cocktail shaker, muddle sugar cube, ginger, and bitters. Add syrup and bourbon; stir and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with an orange peel.