Author Archives: Andre Bishop

Drinking Japanese – Broadsheet

By Delima Shanti,
17 December 2012

With their unique flavour profiles, the use of Japanese spirits in cocktail culture is on the rise. We chatted with Japanese beverage expert Andre Bishop to find out more.

Over the past few years, the popularity of sake and the growth contemporary Japanese cuisine has been on the rise in Australian cities, providing us with a refreshing outlook on an often intriguing, innovative and charming culture.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Japanese spirits such as shochu (a rice-based spirit), umeshu (plum liqueur) and yuzushu (a citrus liqueur) have crept into the bar scene as both experimental and inventive ingredient options.

Andre Bishop, owner, sake expert and resident Japanophile at Melbourne’s Kumo Izakaya, explains that cocktails actually make for a perfect “gateway drink” for Japanese spirits.

“Cocktails are a great way to introduce Japanese spirits into the usual line-up of cocktail ingredients. Bars around the world are now looking to see what they can do with spirits like umeshu and shochu and how they can use these the same way you would use vodka or tequila,” he says.

However, as a sake purist, Bishop prefers not to use the refined flavour profile of sake (especially high-grade sake) in cocktails.

“Most premium sake is probably not suited for cocktails because it’s such delicate, subtle taste. The subtle notes can get lost pretty easily in a cocktail,” he explains.

“But with cocktails in mind, there are…certain styles of sake that are better suited in drinks, like the more full-bodied, high-alcohol Nama Genshu sake, or the Nigori sake [a cloudy sake with floating rice sediments] that adds a nice acidity and texture to cocktails.”

And in regards to the largely unknown nature of Japanese beverages, Bishop explains that there really is no great mystery. Put simply, it is better to approach mixing the ingredients into a cocktail with a light touch. The Japanese palate is in general subtler, lighter and less boisterous than the usual cocktail ingredients we are familiar with, so all you need to do is treat the process with a bit of care.

“Part of what makes Japanese cocktail ingredients so special is that it brings new flavour profiles and even textures that you don’t get with popular Western ingredients,” Bishop says.

“Some more modern sake companies are now making sweeter, carbonated sakes that are almost like champagne and are great in tall cocktails and spritzers.”

That said, the world of cocktails is all about discovering and experimenting with new flavours, and with modern sushi bars and izakayas now a common fixture in most cities, it only makes sense that Japanese alcohols are now taking their worthy place on the shelf next to other worldly staples like vodka, gin and tequila.

Andre Bishop – Asia Education Foundation Ambassador

I am very proud to have been included in the Asia Education Foundation Speakers Bureau.

Asia Literacy Ambassadors are people who have been influenced in their life and work by the Asian region. They demonstrate the practical knowledge, skills and understandings required to work with Asia and with Asian-Australian communities.

They have all agreed to volunteer their time to help inspire students, act as role models and invest their expertise in developing the next generation of the Australian workforce.


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Andre Bishop, Kumo owner and Sake Professional will be on 3RRR radio tomorrow, Sunday 4 November

Andre Bishop, Kumo owner and Sake Professional will be on 3RRR radio tomorrow, Sunday 4 November – Eat It hosted by Cam Smith and Matt Steadman. Tune in and join the Sake Love

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Sake Sampler Dinner – Kumo Izakaya, Thursday 1 November, 7pm

Having recently returned from Japan with a swag load of new Sake and Shochu samples, Kumo owner Andre Bishop is ready to share the love!

Sake Sampler Dinner – Kumo Izakaya, Thursday 1 November, 7pm

Those customers familiar with our Sake Master dinners appreciate these intimate affairs perfect for diners who enjoy good food, sake and Japan-centric conversation.

Limited to 12 guests this Sake Sampler dinner held in our private Tatami room will feature a full dinner of Kumo Izakaya fare and an eclectic range of new Sake and Shochu, many of which are not yet available in Australia. This matched with Andre’s insightful sake education and Japan travel stories makes for a perfect evening out.

12 Tickets Only – $69 per person, dinner and drinks inclusive

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Sipping with the Sake Master posts on









Fell free to check out my sake reviews and articles on

From 12 December 2011

It is with great excitement and anticipation for the future of sake in Australia that I welcome you to Sake Online.
When I first started promoting sake in Australia 12 years ago, I could only dream of the extensive choice of sake that is now available in this country. It is beyond my wildest expectation to also have this range accessible by the Internet and available for home delivery!
I am very proud to be the ambassador for Sake Online and I look forward to sharing my love of sake with other sake enthusiasts and novices alike. Every month I will focus on a different aspect of my experiences with sake and hopefully go some way to improving your knowledge of sake and demystify many of the myths surrounding one of the most enjoyable drinks on the planet.
Sake has so much depth and diversity, but unfortunately it is often overlooked and greatly misunderstood. Here at Sake Online you will discover a diverse range to be enjoyed on any occasion or with any meal, whether it be with obvious pairings such a sashimi or lightly grilled fish or not so obvious matches such a summer BBQ or a Sunday roast.
To celebrate the launch of Sake Online, I hope you will join me in sampling some of the offerings available. To help you get started I have selected three favorites that I believe are perfect to enjoy over the Christmas break and would also make excellent gifts that are out of the ordinary and delicious at the same time.

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Kumo Owner Andre Bishop presenting at Australian National Homebrewing Conference

Head down to the Australian National Homebrewers Conference this Friday and get the lowdown on Sake production.

On Friday 26th October at 12.45pm (Kitchen Theatre), seasoned Sake Professional Andre Bishop will delve into an overview of the sake brewing process.

This presentation is one of many at the three day event, held at William Angliss Institute, 555 Latrobe St, Melbourne.

The ANHC is the premier destination for beginner and expert home brewers alike.

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The return to Shinbashi!

Last night saw a return to Shinbashi for more exceptional sake and food at another Tokyo sake institution Nozaki Shoten. My partners in crime were none other than Fumi, my ex manager of Nihonshu Bar and his newly wed wife Taka chan.

After dinner we made the quick walk across to Ginza to pay our respects to friend and bar tender extraordinaire Ueno San at Bar High Five. Ueno San lost a considerable amount of stock in the March 2011 earthquakes so my donation towards the High Five restock was a lovely bottle of Lark Single Malt from Tasmania.

Kaori Chan, a certified Sherry Master showed us how to really pour sherry and Ueno San was kind enough to give me yet another ice diamond carving lesson 🙂

Back in Japan April 10 – April 25

It was a great pleasure to kick off my latest Japanese tour sharing great food and sake with friends. Etsuko San from Japan Brewery Tours gathered my sake sensei John Gauntner and Sake Connections business partner Mark Schumaucher together for a fine evening at Shinbashi sake temple Iishi.