The definitive guide to the finest drinking experiences

The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe. Each bartender showcases the perfect location, the most inventive cocktail and the finest of ingredients and spirits that define the 'must have' fine drinking experience in their city.

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Tsuyoshi Miyazaki’s Melty Cîroc

Tsuyoshi Miyazaki represented Japan at the World Class Bartender of the Year final, 2013

The Nara Hotel is one of a handful of Japanese hotels with over a century of service under their belt. Founded in 1909 and made entirely of wood, it was designed by Yasushi Kataoka and Kingo Tatsuno and the style they created has been preserved where possible. It overlooks a lake and gardens in a quiet corner of the deer park in Nara, one of the crucibles of Japanese culture. Guests over the years include a King of England, a US President, a Pope and a Dalai Lama. Einstein also dropped in, and played the piano in the lobby which still provides gentle music that drifts into the bar.

Immerse yourself in historic civilization of Japan, with this high-end flashback to the Meiji era. It’s a great place (both Nara and its eponymous hotel) for foreigners to come and experience traditional style and hospitality, with a refreshing cocktail and a splendidly peaceful view of temples, lakes, gardens and deer.

The Bartender

The winner of World Class in the Asia-Pacific region, Tsuyoshi Miyazaki has been working at the Nara Hotel for 20 years and described himself as being ‘absolutely fascinated and obsessed with bar culture in a visceral way.’ No surprises that he’s head sommelier and cigar aficionado, too. ‘There are lots of different elements that need to come together to create perfect drinks,’ says Tsuyoshi, ‘there’s the liquid aspect, the technical aspect and the cultural aspect. First and foremost, it’s essential to remember that if you have a hundred customers, they are all different and you must read each one and create a cocktail that meets each of their needs.’

The Drink

The Melty Cîroc features a homemade syrup made from a base of herb tea, sweetened with a little honey, while the orange essence is tapped from the zest using an espresso maker. These ingredients perfectly complement the smoothness and subtly sweet flavours of the fine French grapes used to make Cîroc. The presentation is classic, served in a small bowl on a kaishi (a paper used especially for the tea ceremony) and carried on a tray made of Japanese cedar.

The Technique

Cîroc vodka • 45ml
Herb tea, honey and orange syrup • 25ml
Orange bitters • 1/2 teaspoon
Contains 16 grams of alcohol per serve

Place all the ingredients in to a shaker. Shake with ice. Strain into a tea bowl. Serve with arrowroot sweets.

The Melty Cîroc is served with an accompaniment of yoshino arrowroot sweets, which are a speciality of the Nara prefecture. It is perfect as the last dish of kaiseki (Japanese haute cuisine banquet), or on its own in late afternoon – take a table by the glass wall in the bar and enjoy the view.

Tsuyoshi’s Insider’s Guide to Nara-ken

Place to eat
Hanagiku, Nara Hotel

Place to lounge
Nara Machi area

Place to shop
Mochiido Street

Place to visit
Todaiji Temple

Place to see
Heijō Palace

Images by Mr Masato Kogure