I recently spent 10 days on an amazing, whirlwind trip around Japan. I can’t say enough good things about the country, the hospitality, and the culture, and I was able to visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and a few places in between. Given only one night in Osaka, I was determined to find a cocktail despite the street food and beer culture that is prevalent in this city – and that’s just what I did.
I found Bar Masuda based on the advice of a friend in New York. The bar itself was a bit hard to find, just a simple metal door under a small sign designating its name and the year of its founding – 1958. My cousin and I walked in and found a dark, narrow, and smoky space, with Elvis and rockabilly music filling the air. With only six or seven total seats at this narrow bar, we were lucky to find the last two seats available.
Masuda-san introduced himself to us and gave us the novel that was the cocktail menu. Like many cocktail bartenders I encountered in Japan, Masuda-san was dressed in formal wear and displayed his many bartending awards as pins on his vest. No detail at his bar was forgotten, and as I was perusing the menu, he told me how his father and started this bar in 1958 and he had been there ever since he remembered.
I found myself on a page called Masuda Originals, but had trouble making a choice, since nothing was written in English.
Masuda-san must have understood the trouble I was having and pointed to the Blue Blazer II. With such a strong suggestion, I relented and placed my order, not knowing what would be in it, or what happened to Blue Blazer I before it.
Attention to detail: the coasters were made from felt
Masuda-san got to work mixing ingredients, as well as lighting a small gas flame. He placed a copper pot atop the flame and began pouring ingredients in. I tried to track everything he put into the pot, but I had trouble tracking everything that came after the Japanese whiskey Nikka. Before I knew it, the lights were dimming and Masuda-san picked up the copper pot. In the dark, he then began a performance of pouring this flaming hot mixture back and forth between pots.
He then placed a mug of this steaming-hot concoction in front of me. Once it cooled down a bit and I took my first sip, the familiar taste of whiskey greeted me. The drink had a little sweetness to it, with the smell and taste of orange and was very boozy. The heat made it hard to drink for a while, but once more temperate, it went down smoothly. The drink reminded me of the Crematorium I have had before, which also had a similar presentation.
Bar Masuda was an incredible experience from start to finish. Being in a small cocktail bar with the bar’s namesake mixing all of the cocktails for customers will always be a delight, no matter where you are. But the pride taken in presentation and nearly unlimited selection of Japanese whiskeys make Bar Masuda a must-visit for anyone in Osaka.
542-0085 Chuo-ku, Osaka Shinsaibashisuji
No. 2-chome 3 No. 11