The cover of â€œThe Japanese Art of the Cocktailâ€ gives you some idea of what making cocktails the Japanese way involves. It shows one of the authors, Masahiro Urushido, using a pick to sculpt a large ball of ice. The big, clear ice cube, usually made from molds these days, is a signature that the Japanese cocktail culture has brought to cocktails in the United States and elsewhere. Mr. Urushido, an owner of Katana Kitten, a bar in the West Village, details the precise approach the Japanese take, not just to carve the ice, but to assemble drinks. He describes his career, from low-rung beginnings as a food runner to a sought-after mixologist in Japan and New York. The book explains high-end cocktail bars in Japan and more informal izakayas; his bar blends both. Many of the bookâ€™s recipes, with long drinks and Japanese riffs on classics, are demanding; some simpler examples are the Japanese highball using frozen whiskey; the Far East Side with sake, tequila and shiso leaves; and Friday in the Park combining pear cider and vermouth (though he recommends making your own vermouth). The book, released in June, has a guide to ingredients and sources.
â€œThe Japanese Art of the Cocktail: Recipes, Tips, and Techniques from Katana Kitten in NYC and Beyondâ€ by Masahiro Urushido and Michael Anstendig (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30).