「バーの隠し味 / マティーニの顔」 (Bar no Kakushiaji / Martini no Kao)
A Bar`s Secret Ingredient / The Face of a Martini

Bartender’s latest episode gives Sasakura some heavy lifting to do as he is tasked to make the perfect cocktail to bribe a French chef into working at the hotel. But while he doesn’t have to come across Mr. Perfect again in this episode, he is given another shot to teach Kawakami how to mix her drinks, specifically the king of cocktails, the Martini.


It’s oddly comforting that Bartender gives everyone such frank and blunt dialogue. Instead of trying to be civil or roundabout, it makes more sense to be as direct as possible, no matter how disrespectful or callous it may come off. This first segment was peppered with this kind of dialogue as you watch a room full of older gentlemen talking to one another as if they should know better.

Monsieur Yamanouchi is ready to jump down anyone’s throat for suggesting that he could use domestic ingredients as he is most familiar with imported French items. I definitely think the hotel’s trying to cut corners with this dude even if Sasakura had to remind him that French cuisine is often defined by technique more than ingredients. It hits hard for Sasakura too with how both of them have faced prejudice over the preconceived notion of not being able to master the technique for Western recipes.

But it’s funny to see everyone scrambling to impress the Monsieur when he’s made up his mind that they’re trying to win him over on a bad deal. It was even more hilarious when Sasakura pulled a fast one on him by giving him high-quality Mirin as a mystery liquor.

It’s made me question if he has a good strategy for when a customer really hates his shenanigans. Like if he were to de-escalate a situation like the SNL sketch where Chris Farley tears apart that restaurant over being tricked to drink decaf coffee crystals. Would he have a nice monologue in his pocket for the moment or have to rely on the good graces of others to quiet everything down?


After the second segment, it’s easy to see that Kawakami is bad at making drinks because her boss is a terrible teacher. Sasakura has had to seek inspiration from several bartenders before honing his craft, but with Ginjo Yuri, they’re already making perfect martinis under their boss’ tutelage.

I wonder if we’ll get to that point where Kawakami takes a proactive measure to find a suitable mentor or if she’ll lean on Sasakura as much as possible. The upside would be getting instruction from someone who knows exactly what she needs to improve upon.

On the other hand, Sasakura has a knack for egging her so much that she winds up taking it out on him. “Who do you think you are to be saying this to me!?” quoth the person who can’t make martinis to the person who can.

As far as this week’s drinks go, many of them are cozy commonplace cocktails like Moscow Mules and basic Martinis. The latter has the most time dedicated to it as a simple yet deceptively tricky cocktail that can change entirely depending on many factors from liquor brands to ratio. Learning techniques to make them can be daunting because even if you know how to concoct one without messing it up, every martini will still taste different.

I am big into gin so the gin martini segments were exciting to see, and it was nice that Ginjo used some of the good stuff with Boodles instead of leaning on a standard mix-in like Gordons, Beefeater, or a random bulk brand that a nightclub would sell you.

To be honest, I laughed a bit when she used Pinnacle for her vodka martini because their Whipped Cream vodka was a huge staple at college parties. If I was getting liquored up on campus, it was always Pinnacle’s fault.

I am curious about the owner of the Hells Arms bar though since it looked like Sasakura learned a good bulk of his techniques and philosophy from him. A music bar also sounds like a nice place to go with its relaxed atmosphere and collection of vinyls to listen to. It would be more interesting to me to learn about other bars and pubs than have to wrangle with the hotel business.


    1. In Japan? Maybe if the Yakusa owns the bar, but a regular bar in Japan served by a well-adjusted bartender is doubtful. The bartenders in Japan are not Moe at Moes Tavern from The Simpsons.

      Not causing a stir in public is key in Japan.

  1. Watched this episode last week on a smartphone while in the back seat of a moving car (though not via YouTube’s POS app because f**k ads wasting my watch time). Never again… (Still won’t use the YT app.)

    Welp, the only gins I’ve tried were the local Ginebra San Miguel (a staple working-class hard drink) and a half-shot of Tanqueray (specifically, the “Export Strength” variant with an ABV of 43.1%, or 86.2 proof–which isn’t much when compared to the 47.3% ABV “Imported” variant seen in the opening credits). And speaking of other gins, I’m curious about Meirishurui’s “Noel’s Potion Premium Craft Gin” (a collaboration with Hololive JP’s resident musclehead boing-boing knight, Shirogane Noel).

    And ah yes, James Bond’s drink of choice: “Vodka Martini, shaken, not stirred.” Though I do remember another cocktail called the Vesper associated with the character.

    To round this episode off, the only “sweet alcohols” I like drinking tend to be alcopops (Vodka Cruiser, Vodka Mudshake), the “Honey Lemon” variant of Lemon-Dou (Coca-Cola’s own take on the chuhai drink), and the Jack Daniel’s with Coca-Cola (which is very YMMV–mixing your own is better for some).


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