Highballs on Tap and Japanese Small Bites at Sebastopol Happy Hour

Sushi Kosho now serves up a full bar with Japanese whiskey and gin, aperitifs and other spirits, plus a new menu of small bites.

Not all fizzy drinks are created equal.

There are the harsh, choking kinds of fizz from over-carbonated sodas; the lazy fizz of seltzers; the twinkling fizz of good Champagne; and the crushed-velvet fizz of a draft whiskey highball at Sebastopol’s Sushi Kosho.

The drinks, according to Sushi Kosho owner Jake Rand, are made with a high-tech, low-temperature carbonation machine that optimizes the drink’s pH level and temperature (at a very cool 34 degrees). It also measures the optimal ratio of water to whiskey, pours a drink like a draft beer and even offers sage advice on relationships.

OK, that last part isn’t true, but the machine is a piece of bar wizardry that costs a cool $5,000 to install and delivers a drink that tickles your nose with tiny bursting bubbles.

It’s all a bit over the top, but whiskey highballs are as much a craft as they are cocktails in Japan, with bartenders painstakingly carving ice cubes, manually checking temperatures and using the highest quality Japanese whiskey. Even the glass has to be properly chilled. But this is more than just hype. The delicate fizz makes this whiskey highball dangerously easy to drink, and at $10 (during happy hour), it’s a deal.

Whiskey highball at Sushi Kosho. (Heather Irwin / The Press Democrat)
Whiskey highball at Sushi Kosho. (Heather Irwin / The Press Democrat)

Rand has expanded from his beer, wine and sake menu to a full bar with Japanese whiskey and gin, aperitifs and other spirits (rum, vodka, mezcal). From 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, all whiskey highballs (including a blood orange or ginger version) and spirit-infused sodas are $10. Other house cocktails, like the Tokyo 75 made with Tenjaku gin, black sesame bitters, yuzu and Prosecco or the East Meets Southwest with mezcal, Triple Sec and togarashi salt, range from $12 to $14.

A new menu of small bites in the bar and lounge includes economical edamame and country miso soup ($4), single pieces of nigiri and sashimi for between $3.50 and $7 and handrolls (three for $27). Heavier appetizers including pork belly kimchi, sticky chicken wings and salmon tartar tacos are $12.

Sushi Kosho is at 6750 McKinley St., Sebastopol. 707-827-6373, koshosushi.com