Yuzu Margaritas in Yuppie Territory

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The yuzu is your new favorite Japanese fruit.

Umi Sake House in Belltown is no stranger to yuppies with button-up shirts and clean-shaven faces. But on this particular Tuesday, the techies and scattered financiers were out in full force - which meant a 45-minute wait for a table.

After putting our names down, we headed for the bar, joining the thirty-somethings sipping their lemongrass cocktails. No one was older than 40, nor younger than 30. As my under-30, underdressed friend described it: "It's hella yuppie tonight."

Ignoring the yuppies and their lemongrass ways, we asked the bartender, Andrew, for the recommended tequila drink. Within seconds - 22 to be specific - his miracle hands had made what may be my favorite tequila cocktail yet this summer: the Yuzu Margarita.

This Japanese delight is made of Sauza Blanco Tequila, yuzu juice and soda. I imagine the yuzu, a sour Japanese citrus fruit, is what makes this margarita light and summery. The yuzu juice is very tart and salty, which is why it goes extremely well with tequila and has more of a refreshing quality to it than most margaritas, explained Andrew.

The yuzu margarita is certainly fresh and brings to mind mint juleps, but it's less sweet. Served in a tall, thin glass and topped with a thick slice of lime, the drink looked simple next to the yuppies' cocktail glasses filled with brightly colored plant leaves. And these days - perhaps because of the recession - it's all about simplicity.

Umi's bartender was right. The tart Japanese juice makes for a clean and refreshing margarita. Or as my friend put it: "It is light and airy, just like sushi."

 
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