Relaxing Times, Suntory Time: TOKI Old Fashioned

M.J. Bale’s resident bon vivant, Murray Hassan, endorses the TOKI Old Fashioned, knowing that for “relaxing times, make it Suntory time.”

While we might not all have a fire in our homes anymore, there are few things more enjoyable on a cold winter Friday evening than to reflect on the week that has been, while relaxing by a fine source of heat with a well-crafted whisky or cocktail in hand. In celebration of our Made in Japan collection of coats, jackets, and selvedge denim, we asked Murray Hassan, ambassador for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, bon vivant and M.J. Bale staffer, to put together a cocktail from a Japanese source. His choice for this week? The TOKI Old Fashioned.

Although making whisky for “just over 100 years,” Murray believes Japan sits in a “highly revered and highly valued” place in the international whisky pantheon. “The Japanese combine craftsmanship and precision with the traditions of Scotch whisky making,” he says.

Murray is familiar with Suntory’s TOKI blended whisky. “This is the most accessible Japanese whisky on the market. TOKI is readily available and is a very flexible whisky, either drunk straight, on the rocks, or in cocktails. And it works perfectly in an Old Fashioned.”

The best part of an Old Fashioned, Murray reckons, is the fact it’s “the best expression of whatever spirit you’re putting in – in this case Japanese whisky – and is easy to make at home. It requires no equipment. All you need is a glass and some ice.” For the recipe’s honey syrup, he suggests just combining whatever honey you have on hand in the house with water in a 50-50 ratio and muddle together. “The honey and bitters combine to offer a sweet-tang that brings forward a fruitiness from the whisky, letting it shine.”

As Bill Murray’s character says in Lost in Translation, “For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.”

TOKI Old Fashioned

60ml TOKI
5-10ml honey syrup
3-4 dashes grapefruit bitters
Grapefruit peel

Add Angostura bitters from the traditional recipe, with a twist of grapefruit bitters to match TOKI's characteristic and enhance the whisky's tasting notes of grapefruit, apple, thyme and mint.