By Alison Bailin Batz
Photo by Elizabeth Marie
OBON Sushi + Bar + Ramen, which is now open at The Grove in McCormick Ranch after making its first Valley debut at Scottsdale Quarter in 2017, combines modern interpretations of Japanese fare with Korean influences – and a hint of kitsch.
“Keeping this in mind, our playful cocktail program creatively showcases Asian ingredients and flavors without taking itself too seriously,” says OBON mixologist Marlee Palmer.
Party Time Excellent ($22), a highlight of the current pop culture-themed drink menu and named for the famed catchphrase in Wayne’s World, illustrates this to a T – and is available at The Grove location only.
“We use three key Asian ingredients here: yuzu, tobanjan and Ramune,” Palmer says. “While many have heard of yuzu, an Asian fruit best described as a cross between a lime and grapefruit, the other two are likely foreign to most guests.”
According to Palmer, tobanjan is a chili bean sauce often used to add spice to food and drinks across Asia, while Ramune is a Japanese soda similar to Sprite.
“In a shaker, we combine yuzu and tobanjan with Green Mark Vodka, Citadelle Gin, Gran Agave Blanco Tequila, and Royal Standard Dry White Rum, plus housemade tropical fruit juice and lime,” Palmer says.
The contents are strained into globe-shaped fishbowl glass rimmed with zesty tahin. Then, Ramune is poured on top, with the bottle being left sticking out from the glass as a playful garnish. The cocktail is finished with two mini umbrellas and brightly colored straws for easily sharing among two people (or having all to yourself!).
“It starts out sweet before being balanced by all the citrus and spice notes, which results in a perfectly refreshing finish,” Palmer says.
OBON Sushi + Bar + Ramen, 7300 N. Via Paseo Del Sur, Scottsdale; 623.295.2002; www.obonsushi.com.