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Lockhouse Sakura Gin celebrates the cherry blossom

On April 28, Lockhouse Distillery will release its spring spirit, Sakura Gin. This popular seasonal product is another of Lockhouse’s innovative selections, and as usual, a lot of thought went into the creation of this unique gin.

“We wanted to do something that was Buffalo-centric, but also a step away from the norm. In researching, I learned that Buffalo has the third-largest cherry blossom festival. It seemed like a fantastic tribute,” said distillery manager and partner Cory Muscato.

This year is extra special, as the Olmsted Park Conservancy celebrates 150 years. The release of the Sakura gin coincides with "Olmsteducation Week," a celebration of the city’s historic parks system.

To experience Sakura is to truly study the cherry blossom. Dried rose petals were added to the distillate to enhance the floral characteristics of the gin. Hibiscus brings sharpness, with some citrus and berry flavors.

There also is a surprise feature of Sakura. “The cherry blossom has a distinct velvety feel to it, and we wanted Sakura to reflect that – but it’s difficult to convey that in a liquid,” Muscato said. “We had to alter the viscosity, so we added coconut flakes. It gives the gin some sweetness, too, without adding sugar.”

Sakura is complex enough to be enjoyed alone, but it is also a great base for cocktails. The Olmsted is traditionally served on Lockhouse’s brick-base bar, but can be easily made at home with Sakura, lime juice, simple syrup and soda.

Once available, the limited release Sakura will be available at Lockhouse (41 Columbia St.) and distributed to bars and liquor stores throughout New York State, with a concentration in Western New York.

Cocktail recipes

Sakura Bijou

  • 1 1/2 oz. Lockhouse Sakura Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Green Chartreuse
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters

Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir the mixture for 20 seconds then strain into a snifter or rocks glass. Garnish this cocktail with an orange rind.

Gin Cosmopolitan

  • 1 1/2 oz. Lockhouse Sakura Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Triple Sec or Curacao
  • 1 oz. Cranberry Juice

Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Vigorously shake for 10 seconds then strain the mixture into a chilled coup or martini glass. Garnish the glass with a thin lime wheel.

*Read more about what's happening at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Buffalo:

Cherry Blossom Festival features Japanese films, music and family events

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