The Roku Shun Sour combines the best of gin and Japan.

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pink cocktail in coupe glass next to bottle of Roku Craft gin, cherry blossoms scattered around table
Credit: Emily Arden Wells of Gastronomista

Spring has sprung around the world, and from the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. to Tokyo's Ueno Park, cherry blossoms have been on full display. Of course, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many nature lovers don't have the chance to visit the blooms in person this year, but that doesn't mean you can't still bring some cherry blossom magic into your own home — cocktail style.

Roku Gin, a craft gin distilled in Japan, is made using six high-quality botanicals that are "uniquely Japanese and, therefore, best understood by Japanese artisans," according to the brand. Part of the House of Suntory, a Japanese spirits maker founded in 1899, Roku's botanicals are harvested only in the proper season, and one of those botanicals just happens to be sakura flowers. 

pink cocktail in coupe glass next to bottle of Roku Craft gin, cherry blossoms scattered around table
Credit: Emily Arden Wells of Gastronomista

Roku Gin is made in Suntory's "Liquor Atelier," where botanicals are distilled separately in one of four unique pots "to extract the best flavor and maintain their individual characteristics." As Suntory explains, "the delicate scent of cherry blossom is drawn out through vacuum distillation in stainless pot stills, whereas the deep flavor of yuzu is achieved by distillation in copper pot stills." All this to say, this craft gin really brings the flavor of sakura season to life. 

To take the experience one step further, Suntory created a delicious cocktail that celebrates the complexity of both nature and Roku Gin. So, whether you're dancing in a sea of pink blossoms or simply just pretending to, grab a coupe glass, make yourself a drink, and know that cherry blossom season is only as distant as your liquor cabinet. Just don't forget to order your own bottle online.

Roku Shun Sour Recipe:

2 parts Suntory Roku® Gin

.75 parts fresh lemon or lime juice

.75 parts simple syrup

Muddle 1 strawberry and 2-3 basil leaves

Shake all ingredients with ice and double strain into a coupe

Tanner Saunders is the Experiences Editor at Travel + Leisure. He's a big fan of gin, Japan, and gin from Japan.