Roku Gin is celebrating summer botanicals — sencha and gyokuro — with afternoon teas and cocktails at five hotels in Kuala Lumpur.
If you’re a green tea enthusiast, you’d know that green tea is tremendously popular all around the world. After all, green tea can be consumed any time and anywhere, be it warm or cold. Did you know that time of harvest, growing conditions, and ways of cultivation are keys factors affecting the varieties and strains of green tea?
This is also why there are so many types of green tea, from Genmaicha and Hojicha to Sencha and Gyokuro. Do you have a go-to green tea variety? Fun fact: Gyokuro tea and Sencha tea make up the six uniquely Japanese botanicals in Roku Gin. The other special ingredients joining the two summer botanicals are Sansho pepper (autumn), Yuzu (spring), as well as Sakura leaf and Sakura flower (both for winter).
Now, it’s time to get spirit-ual and get back to the sensorial stars of the summer season — Sencha and Gyokuro teas. What constitutes as Sencha and what defines Gyokuro? Read on to find out where you can experience the summer bliss in KL with Roku Gin cocktails and afternoon tea!
Known as one of the most widely consumed green tea in Japan, Sencha tends to have a mild grassy flavour. Made from the dried tea leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, Sencha is also often described as tasting slightly sweeter and lighter than its other green tea counterparts. Even under the Sencha umbrella, there are a few varieties — including Fukamushi, Chumushi, Asamushi, and Shincha Sencha. What sets these variations apart from each other is the steaming duration that ranges from only 30 seconds to two minutes.
Sencha tea, one of two summer botanicals in the Roku Gin blend, is also a popular drink during the summer because of its lightness and can be consumed both hot or iced. Harvested at the peak of summer to ensure the utmost freshness, Beam Suntory (the spirits giant responsible for Roku Gin and with over 80 years of blending techniques) follows the Japanese culinary concept of shun, which states that the ideal taste of food and drinks should be experienced during the ideal season.
This is why Sencha tea plays such a key role in Roku Gin; bringing a very refreshing mild earthiness to the blend. The well-balanced gin (which also comprises eight other traditional gin botanicals) obtains its sweet and floral aroma from Sencha tea.
One of the few shaded green tea varieties (along with Matcha), Gyokuro tea has brighter tasting notes and a creamier body than Sencha tea. This green tea is usually covered before harvest. To produce Gyokuro tea, the leaves are steeped before straining in a process that sees the whole tea leaf extracted in water. The process of shading means Gyokuro (which translates to ‘jade dew’ in Japanese) tea has a more concentrated flavour.
Just like Sencha tea, Gyokuro tea plays a crucial part when it comes to forming Roku’s multi-layered yet harmonious gin. After all, both teas can be seen engraved on the liquid’s hexagonal bottle; an ode to the taste’s perfect unity. Here’s another fun fact: the bottle is designed to have six sides to highlight ‘roku’, which is ‘six’ in Japanese. Now, you can see everything’s seamlessly connected.
Gyokuro tea is known for its strong umami taste and the summer botanical adds a gentle aroma to the gin’s overall flavour profile — here’s where the Suntory Liquor Atelier blends together a melange of botanicals such as Juniper berries, cardamon seeds, bitter orange peels, lemon peels, coriander seeds, cinnamon, Angelica roots, and Angelica seeds. A traditional tea house in Japan carries out the entire process from harvesting to drying Gyokuro tea (and Sencha) leaves for Roku.
Interested to experience the refreshing tang of Sencha and pronounced umami of Gyokuro in Roku Gin? You’re in luck because Roku is collaborating with five hotels in Kuala Lumpur on something really exciting. Throughout the months of July and August, you can savour summer cocktails and high tea sets based on the multi-layered notes of Roku Gin.
The five participating hotels include The RuMa Hotel and Residences, Westin Kuala Lumpur, Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur, W Kuala Lumpur, and Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur Chinatown. Here are all the sensorial details you need to know:
The RuMa Hotel and Residences
Indulge in the refreshing flavours of summer with the Summer Afternoon Tea and Cocktails set at The RuMa. Savour delectable treats such as Crisp Tartlette with Ikura and Yuzu; Macaron Sencha and Calamansi; Matcha Sable; Yuzu Vanilla Entremet; as well as Sakura White Peach, Lychee, and Pistachio.
You can also celebrate summertime bliss with specially curated Roku Gin cocktails at The RuMa. They include M.J (Merah Jambu) that comprises Roku Gin infused with strawberry, egg white, lemon juice, and strawberry syrup; and Let The Fun Be-Gin that’s concocted with orange-infused Roku Gin, egg white, passionfruit syrup, and lemon juice.
Available from 9 July to 31 August 2022, the Summer Afternoon Tea is priced at RM138 per person, with Roku Gin cocktails being RM35 nett each.
Westin Kuala Lumpur
The Westin Summer High Tea set is a one-of-a-kind culinary experience, filled with savoury and sweet treats. Savoury options include the likes of Organic Spinach and Chicken Quiche; Prawn Cocktail Salad; Scallop Cucumber Salad; Smoked Salmon with Whipped Feta Mini Doughnut; and Turkey Toast Tomato Chutney with Hydroponic Mizuna. For sweet delights, feast on Red Velvet Popsicles, Berries Parfait, and more.
Roku Summer Cocktails at The Westin KL include Nuvola (with fruity flavours of pineapple and mango), Rosella Sonata (with grapefruit and roselle), and of course, Roku Gin and Tonic.
The Westin Summer High Tea set is priced at RM208 whereas the Roku Summer Cocktails are priced at RM45 each.
Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur
Treat yourself to the Roku Gin Afternoon Tea set at Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur with delights such as Unagi Kyuri (grilled eel with cucumber), Smoked Salmon Tart, Tamago Sando (Japanese egg sandwich), Sakura Pear Roll (sponge cake with sakura jam and caramelised pear), and Strawberry Chocolate Canapes. The set comes with a choice of coffee or tea.
For your choice of tipple, opt for Roku Sunny if you prefer cocktails with citrus notes or Roku Minted if you like the powerful blend of gin with sake. The latter is concocted with chilled Roku Gin for a more refreshing summer experience — sounds good already.
The Banyan Tree and Roku Gin Afternoon Tea is priced at RM188 nett per person. Cocktails are priced at RM45 nett each.
W Kuala Lumpur
Get your fill of summer goodness with W Kuala Lumpur and Roku Gin this July and August with rejuvenating desserts and cocktails. At W Kuala Lumpur, there is the Matcha Yuzu Azuki Choux that’s uplifted with the delicate touch of Roku Gin. The dessert consists of Matcha Crème Patissier, Yuzu Roku Gin Pipette Syrup, and Azuki Red Bean Gelee.
Roku Summer Cocktails at W Kuala Lumpur consists of carefully crafted concoctions with Roku Gin. Yuzu Sour is made with yuzu puree, orange bitters, and simple syrup; whereas Roku Summer Fizz consists of grapefruit bitters, dehydrated kiwi and strawberries, and tonic water. As for Gin-Ger Negroni, the cocktail has Domain de Canton ginger liqueur, Campari, honey water mix, and ginger candy.
The set is priced at RM65 nett for a dessert and a cocktail. Each cocktail is priced at RM40 and the dessert on its own is priced at RM30.
Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur Chinatown
Head over to Lady Yi’s Tea House to check out a special green tea dessert. The Matcha Raspberry Finger comprises a light premium matcha mousse cake with a moist sponge cake base as well as a layer of raspberry jam. You can also pair your dessert with three unique Roku Gin cocktails at Lady Yi — Old Nutty Matcha, Lady Collins, and Genmai-Cha. Each cocktail is concocted to elevate your summer experience.
The Roku Summer Dessert and Cocktail set (with a dessert and a cocktail) is priced at RM55+.
There you go! If you’re interested to indulge in the bliss of summer botanicals and to learn more about Roku Gin through specially created afternoon tea sets and drinks, these are the spots you need to check out in Kuala Lumpur. Whether it’s Sencha tea, Gyokuro tea, or the other four uniquely Japanese botanicals, these treats are carefully curated for a well-balanced and harmonious experience.
For more information about Roku Gin, visit this website.
For non-Muslims aged 21 and above only. Don’t drink and drive.
(All images by Roku Gin)