DISCOVER THE WORLD CLASS 50

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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Hidetsugu Ueno’s Innocent Love

Hidetsugu Ueno is one of the renowned industry gurus on the judging panel of the World Class Bartender of the Year annual awards, and owner of High Five Bar.

With its small, rather classic interior and soft jazz soundtrack, High Five Bar may look and sound like a straightforward Ginza cocktail spot but its finely honed drinks are anything but. Detail is the word here in this temple to the art of Japanese bartending. The precision of technique is as one would wish for from oriental craftsmen, even down to how the ice is carved. There’s a simple bar menu, with homemade Jamon Japonica, omelettes and hotdogs, but the drinks and their careful preparation are absolutely centrestage. And while there’s a well stocked bar here there’s no cocktail menu, rather staff will gauge what drink will serve you best. It’s showmanship, without flamboyance or attention seeking, but nevertheless intimate, impressive and instructive.

The Bartender

Though unassuming by nature, the high priest of this temple is owner Hidetsugu Ueno. He’s certainly amassed a legion of faithful devotees as he has quietly ascended the ranks of Tokyo bartenders over the last 21 years. Ueno-san was head bartender at Star Bar, another famed cocktail haunt in opulent shopping district Ginza, before opening up his own lounge five years ago. He is a man who eschews flashy methodology to focus squarely on craft and detail, with often unexpected and certainly unforgettable results. Every element is considered carefully by Hidetsugu and all aspects of the experience have been evaluated to ensure an efficient exquisiteness in his particularly Japanese take on bartending.

The Drink

Innocent Love was made almost as a creative challenge Ueno-san gave himself to mimic the prominent violet flavour of Parfait Amour, without actually using the liqueur. He claims the inspiration, rather cryptically ‘just came down from the sky’. It uses the full-fruit character of Tanqueray Ten as its base, backed up with fresh lime juice to allow citrus flavours to hold sway. The gin is also used to prepare a homemade syrup which is key in the drink’s metamorphic nature.

The Technique

Tanqueray Ten • 45ml
Martini Bianco • 10ml
Fresh lime juice • 15ml
Homemade gin syrup • 5ml
Contains 20 grams of alcohol per serve

Shake all the ingredients together. Pour into a chilled rocks glass.

Innocent Love is perfect to sip in the evening – have a total Tokyo moment as you watch the bartenders go about their work as the trains pass by and the neons shine bright outside in bustling Ginza.

Watch Hidetsugu Ueno at his craft and you know you are watching a master at work; you may well learn something fascinating and you will certainly savour something exceptional.

Ueno-san’s Insider’s Guide to Ginza

Place to stay
Ginza Nikko Hotel

Place to eat
Toriyoshi Ginza

Place to relax
Ginza Ranzu coffee shop

Place to lounge
Café de L’Ambre

Place to shop
Ginza Street and crossings

Place to visit
Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa

Place to see
Wako at the Ginza Intersection


Images by Mr. Masato Kogure