tea-infused-vodka-1
tea-infused-vodka-1

Made by Tea

KAKUZO EARL GREY
TEA INFUSED VODKA

First, take some tea:
To form the base of our unique Earl Grey blend, we have carefully selected organic tea leaves grown in Japan, China and India. The result is pleasantly spicy, with hints of caramel, blending harmoniously with notes of honey and aromatic citrus.

Then, add vodka:
Distilled several times and steeped with an expertly curated infusion, we have created the combination of silky texture and exceptional taste, that is Kakuzo. Serve on ice with bitter lemon or for the adventurous, find our cocktails online for extra zest. Serve warm to let the tea’s aroma fully unfold.

The six steps to Kakuzo

01

The right balance

Japan’s present is determined by a thousand-year-old tradition and glittering modernity like in no other country in the world. Those who have already travelled to Japan know that the impressions gained here are virtually endless fertile ground for new inspiration. This is also true of the country’s cuisine and drinking culture: an undreamed-of delicacy that nevertheless appeals to the palate immediately, for Japanese cuisine skillfully and uniquely plays with contrasts combining cold and warm, neutral and spicy or mild and hot.

An approach that has been refined, perfected and cultivated for centuries and, therefore, still perfectly reflecting cultural identity and reality. Because the middle opens up only when both Buddhist elements yin and yang are effectively combined in the right balance.

This is the first step to Kakuzo.

02

The Big Picture

The role of rituals in Japan’s everyday life becomes particularly apparent during the tea ceremony. Adopted from the Chinese and matured to absolute peak in the Edo period in the 17th century, the preparation and drinking is far more than the process of dousing the leaves with hot water and then enjoying the tea. In fact, the art reveals itself here as a view of the world as a whole, and to repeat it daily as a visualised ritual.

Owing to scholar Okakura Kakuzo, these and other Far Eastern practices were more and more appreciated in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. In his book ‘The Book of Tea’ of 1906, he explained to the Western world the secrets of Japan, skilfully combining Zen Buddhism, Taoism and the art of tea preparation. He established the connection between mental discipline and the resulting bond with nature. So what could be more appropriate to adequately appreciate this great achievement and to honour Okakura Kakuzo as godfather and namesake?

This is the second step to Kakuzo.

03

The Playful Lightness

If Americans did not break through the Japanese isolation in 1853, who knows whether the tradition would still be practiced on the island today as it was then. It is a fact that no one is afraid to masterly copy or mix styles in today’s Japan. Manga and Anime live this way in art unperturbedly and in a peaceful balance with traditional values. This playful and always balanced ease of approach is a routine and standard. For Kakuzo, it means: Peace here, exuberance there. Turbid liquid here, transparent liquid there. Tea here, vodka there. Bartenders have been experimenting with especially prepared tea infusions for a long time. For Kakuzo, this idea has been bottled for the first time.

This is the third step to Kakuzo.

04

The Interaction

Ukiyo-e developed at the same time with the tea ceremony: wood-printed books or graphics were sold by the thousands on the streets. They are forerunners of the comics: artists like Hiroshige, Hokusai and Utamaro immortalized the hustle and bustle of the streets of Edo, today’s Tokyo. Popular actors and stylish courtesans were portrayed one day, then vilified in bizarre scenes another day. In addition to these images, less burlesque, rather contemplative works about nature and the seasons came into circulation. These works had been unknown in the West for a long time until shortly after the opening of Japan in 1853 they spread throughout Europe as cheap packaging material for porcelain. Their Far East, unique design created a widespread sensation among artists and collectors and immediately became an inspiration: it is said that there would be no Western modern art without Ukiyo-e. Kakuzo adopts this approach: the label spiritedly reflects the interaction.

This is the fourth step to Kakuzo.

05

The Spiritual World

In addition to the portraits and landscapes of the ukiyo-e, Kakuzo is inspired by another genre: Yokai – the mythical creatures of the spiritual world. Deeply rooted in Japanese tradition, they represent the inexplicable and supernatural. With some Yokai –often animals– the Japanese associate certain characteristics and magical abilities. For example, Kitsune, the cunning fox, is said to have high intelligence, a long life, and magical powers. There is also the belief that he can change into a human being. If, on the other hand, you arouse his anger or his envy, you should beware of his reaction. He enchants women, men become victims of his tricks and games. Tengu, the sky dog, originates both from Indian and Chinese mythology. Mostly depicted with feathers and in human form, with red skin and an oversized, long nose, Tengu is the warrior and an enemy of the mostly good-natured Kitsune. Both roles unite in our tea leaf samurai. Tranquility and a storm – all in one, a symbol of the ingredients that make Kakuzo so unique.

This is the fifth step to Kakuzo.

06

The Gentle Essence

Three types of tea are combined in our individual blend: Sencha from Japan, Keemun from China and Assam from India. It is pleasantly spicy, with hints of caramel, blending harmoniously with notes of honey and aromatic citrus. By carefully filtering and distilling the spirit several times, we have arrived at the combination of silky texture and exceptional taste. The secret of Kakuzo is the blend and extraction time of the tea on the one hand, and the temperature and volume % of vodka during the production process on the other hand.
This is how the unique taste of Kakuzo is created and enriches the world of spirits with a fascinating touch: enjoyed warm to let the tea’s aroma fully unfold. Of course, our vodka is also something very special on ice or in cocktails for extra zest.

This is the sixth step to Kakuzo.

Production

Drinks

Team

Paul and Marc

…are the driving force behind Kakuzo. When they were still in school, the two friends have extensively explored Berlin’s bar business. In particular, the trend to open up new worlds of cocktail taste through tea infusions inspired them substantially. Years later, after extensive and insightful experiments in the in-house bathtub, the 2017 recipe was so convincing that they decided to share their creation with the general public. This way KAKUZO was born. In addition to the development of the flavor profile, the visually stunning design of the label helped the two widely-traveled Asia fans to establish a convincing connection between the product and its multifaceted worlds of ideas. Kitsune, tengu, maneki-neko and the lucky cat, a dragon and a koi: a winking tribute to Far Eastern myths and their mythical creatures.

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