alissa and ryandrinksentertainingFood & Drinkrecipes

behind the bar: the ich, ni, san, shi cocktail

by Grace Bonney

Hello everyone! We are alissa and ryan. We live in Philadelphia and together co-own/operate the online boutique shop HORNE. We are very excited to continue our “Behind the Bar” column on a monthly basis and want to thank Grace for asking us to join the fabulous and talented design*sponge team – what great company to be in!

After a recent re-visit of the movie Chocolat, we both fell in love with the idea of outdoor dinner parties. This month’s drink, selected with the help of the wonderful people at APO, is a surprisingly refreshing cocktail that is perfect for any meal served alfresco. In order to do it justice, we decided to arrange our very own “garden” party. Mixing and matching silverware, plates, cups, chairs, napkins, et al. really gave our small fête a more interesting and dynamic atmosphere. Adding an unsuspecting element (like a painting hung in ivy or a chandelier hung from a tree branch) added a nice whimsical touch. It is really very easy to transform the most mundane space into a magical setting for your family and friends (our dinner party took place in our parking lot behind our home) so go and take advantage of the warm weather while it is still around to enjoy!

The Ich, Ni, San, Shi cocktail will be part of the new menu at APO and they have graciously offered it to all D*S readers as a sneak peek.

CLICK HERE for the full cocktail recipe after the jump!


Ingredients – Ich, Ni, San, Shi:

2 oz Laird’s 7 ½ year Apple Brandy (or substitute another apple brandy by Laird’s)

.5 oz Orgeat (aka almond syrup)

.75 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

1 dash Aromatic Bitters


Pour all ingredients into mixing tin.

Add ice, shake and strain into a martini glass.

Garnish with a lime wheel.


Since we are pretty much brand spanking new to blogging, we would really appreciate any feedback you all may have. For future columns do you want us to feature signature cocktails from restaurants and bars? Should we feature only seasonal cocktails? Should we include tutorials on other beverages like wine and beer? Do you want us to gear all of the drinks around a party/occasion? Anything and everything is fair game at this point so please let us know your thoughts.

alissa & ryan


Photographs by Alissa Parker-Walker

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  • I love hearing about seasonal cocktails and food/party pairings. And…I would kill for that tablecloth! Gorgeous!

  • i love this entire post! The setting you created was beautiful, and the drink look very enticing. I think all the ideas you had are something tp look forward to. I love the idea of beer and wine tutorials as well. also i think keeping the drinks seasonal is great….thank you! also, ps- were is that goooorgggeeouusss blanket/tablecloth, spread from?? WOW!

  • I really love how you set up a scenario to go with the drink! I think this is something you should keep doing. I think you should create an environment based on season or upcoming holidays and events. It really pulls it all together when the drink matches the ambiance!

  • The cocktail sounds lovely, but why the japanese name? I know “ich, ni, san, shi” sounds more romantic than “1, 2, 3, 4” but there isn’t a hint of sake, shochu or japanese fruit in it. Confusing.

  • Great column! I can’t wait for more! I love the idea of matching or tying in a drink or bar with a season or event. I love love love the simple cloth napkins, they make me think of summer. I need to find some and make my own garden party!

  • Hello!

    The tablecloth is actually a one-of-a-kind vintage throw/quilt, that was hand made in Easter Rajasthan. It, along with several others, will soon be available in the boutique (www.shopHORNE.com). If you can’t wait and must have it now, you can always contact us for more information: info@shophorne.com

    The drink is an adaptation of the classic cocktail, “Japanese Cocktail,” created by mixologist Gary Regan or Jerry Thomas (depending who you ask). Ironically, their version did not have sake, shochu or Japanese fruit in it either. The “Ich, Ni, San, Shi” is meant to pay homage to the cocktail’s original name.

  • What a lovely and delicious-sounding drink! In future columns it would be great if you would offer cocktails alongside ‘virgin’ counterparts for guests who can’t or don’t drink. Could be the same beverage in a non-alcoholic version, or just a good companion drink. My two cents. : )

  • Sounds like a great drink and I love the beautiful photos/setting. Gorgeous! Although I’m a little confused because I think one in Japanese is “Ichi.” Is that a typo? Although I’m sure that doesn’t take away from the delicious-sounding drink.

  • This cocktail sounds lovely! I like the idea of keeping the drinks seasonal – I know I often snoop around online for cocktail ideas for immediately consumption. ;)

    Something I would love to see are a few drinks recipes that are good for making in larger quantities. I have a few standards that I make in pitchers for parties, but I need more ideas! We have a communal garden at my building and I like to bring down a jug or two of something tasty when we have barbeques.

    Ooo, I’d also like to see a post on bitters!

  • Seasonal drinks are especially appreciated, as are signature drinks from places I don’t (can’t) get to. That way, I can travel from here at home. Thanks for the great start!

  • To echo everyone else……..Love the Tablecloth! Is it really a blanket or bedspread? It’s beautiful.

  • I made the candles with my kids. Good summer fun. I have found MANY inspirations from this site!

  • Katie, yes it should be “ichi” not “ich.”

    Also and this is HUGE, please please do not call this cocktail “ichi, ni, san, shi”! In Japanese, “shi” is the word for the number 4… but when pronounced it sounds like “death.” This could be quite offensive to a Japanese customer. :( The prefered way to say 4 in Japanese is “yon.”

  • Thank you for all of your feedback about the drink’s name. We have passed this information along to APO (Apothecary) and I am certain they will also be grateful. We will adjust the drink’s name when we hear back.

    -Alissa & Ryan

  • I would be interested in unique and different drinks from exotic locations etc. Things that may not be “the norm”.
    Also, like the idea of drinks matching a situation, party, event.

  • I like the idea of mixing in some information about wine and beer. A feature on Turley would be especially fantastic :)

  • What a beautiful dinner party set up! The drink looks delicious as well:) I can’t wait to look up the table cover on your website! And who is the artist of that fabulous painting??

  • I really enjoy your beautiful photography, it makes me want to have a dinner party. I would like to hear more about a great summer and festive sparkling wine, called Prosecco.

  • As Marco Polo’s distant descendent once said, “Bad Prosecco beats good Champagne any day.”

  • Such a pretty spread! You guys really nailed the “Chocolat” inspiration– makes me wish we had room in the garden for a dinner party. Especially love the cobalt glass bottles!