You can’t beat a touch of chilli in a cocktail. I’ve suspected this for some time, but then a chance tasting at David Chang’s Ma Peche cocktail bar in New York confirmed it. The bartender mixed the most beautiful yuzu juice cocktail – sharp, sweet, floral, and a slight kick at the back of the throat.

You’ll know what I mean if you have ever enjoyed a hot charlotte: a fine blend of gin, St Germain (elderflower liqueur), cucumber, lemon juice, with just a touch of Tabasco hot sauce. We wouldn’t leave until he gave me the recipe.

The magical drink was shichimi togarishi infused sake (2 parts), yuzu juice (1/4 part), lemon juice (3/4 part), and sugar syrup (1 part). Stunning as an alcoholic cocktail, I suspected it might well work as a yuzu juice cocktail. The warmth brings everything together and sensitises your taste buds for more.

Flavours tend to be far less complex in non-alcoholic cocktails, and in these, a hint of chilli really makes the difference. We’ve adapted the Ma Peche version a little to make the gloriously refreshing summer drink – the spiced yuzu juice mocktail. Serve it at your next party to great delight.

Spiced Yuzu Juice Mocktail

Serves 4 (in 250ml tumblers)

45ml yuzu juice
135ml lemon juice
180ml shichimi togarashi sugar syrup (see below)
450ml sparkling water
Ice

For the shichimi togarashi sugar syrup

100g sugar
100g water
1/4 tsp shichimi togarashi spice mix

  1. Begin by making the shichimi togarashi sugar syrup. In a pan bring the sugar, water and shichimi togarashi to the boil. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool and then refrigerate.
  2. Once the syrup is cool mix together the yuzu juice, lemon juice, syrup and sparkling water in a large jug.
  3. Fill four tumblers with ice and pour over the cocktail.