Birdie Yang, now of Baku, studied for six years to become a sake sommelier.
The man behind South Park’s hotspot restaurant doesn’t take any Japanese libations lightly, and his cocktail menu notably reflects this reverence. Naturally, Japanese whiskey gets its own spotlight in the restaurant’s Tokubetsu Manhattan: Carpano sweet vermouth and the fresh citrus of yuzu meld with the silky, sweet-and-spicy finish of Suntory Toki. Topped with the requisite brandied cherries, this drink would be a dead ringer for your favorite Manhattan if not for the decidedly eastern nature of your surroundings.
At Baku, one expects something Japanese in the mix, and one’s likely to get it.