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Sansei showed us four cocktails we’ll definitely be revisiting all winter long. Better yet, head bartender Trey Beattie paired each drink with sushi for us. (Image: Joshua Lewis / Seattle Refined)

These Winter Cocktails + Sushi = Happy Campers

Ok, we know it's technically not winter until December 21 - but doesn't it already feel like it? It’s rainy. It’s cold. It’s cloudy. You look like you could use a drink.

We’ve been there – in fact, it’s how we felt when we checked out Sansei Seattle earlier this month. At the end of a long work week we were dying for a drink or two (or three) and something to snack on while we sipped. Lucky for us, they had out backs.

Sansei showed us four cocktails we’ll definitely be revisiting all winter long. Better yet, head bartender Trey Beattie paired each drink with sushi for us. The Paramount-adjacent restaurant has sister spots in Hawaii, and the sushi team in Seattle took it upon themselves to both bring bestsellers from the islands and develop special Seattle-only offerings. Here are four pairings we can’t get enough of – we think you’ll like them this winter, too.

The Thai Collins

“It’s made with a ginger vodka, our own sweet and sour mix, lemongrass simple syrup, ginger ale, and muddled cucumber,” Beattie explains. “This one is a little more flavor-forward. We put salt on the rim to give it a little cleanness.”

  • Sushi Pairing: The Dragonfly Roll: “It’s a spicier roll, so it works well with the palate-cleansing from the ginger,” Beattie says. “It’s my favorite roll.”

The In Fashion

This is a take on the New Old Fashioned,” he says. “It’s made with an amaretto, but we infuse our own bourbon-vanilla simple syrup for it, and we use orange bitters. It gives a nice sweetness that isn’t overpowering.”

  • Sushi Pairing: The mango crab salad hand roll is made with blue crab and it’s really light, but it has sweetness to it from its vinaigrette,” Beattie explains. “The sweetness and the savory flavor of the drink pairs phenomenally.”

The Toki Press

“This is Toki whiskey, a Japanese whiskey from Suntory. It’s light, so it’s a good in for Japanese whiskey, which tends to be sweet. This drink is made with a majority soda, plus a splash of Sprite to give it some citrus, and we finish it with a citrus peel.”

  • Sushi Pairing: The Grizzly Bear. “It’s not an overpowering drink, even for whiskey, so it pairs with everything. I paired it with the Grizzly Bear, which has a kick to it, but the lightness of the drink counteracts that.”

The Vesper

“We wanted takes on traditional cocktails,” Beattie says. “This is a nice twist on the traditional martini – we use local liquors like Big Gin and Dry Fly vodka., both from Seattle. It has lighter flavors, but it doesn’t overpower whatever you pair it with.”

  • Sushi pairing: The Takah Sushi Special Roll. “It has a nice clean finish, so they work really well together,” Beattie explains. “The crab has a nice flavor to it, and because it already has that earthy lightness it works well with gin and vodka.”
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