Japanese Cuisine

Okinawa Sunshine Cocktail Recipe: Celebrating The Stories And Spirits Of Okinawa

Okinawa Sunshine uses Yokka Koji awamori and Cor Cor rum.

When it comes to cocktails, Japan is an authority in pushing the boundaries of mixed drinks and coming up with new creations. It’s a drinks culture build on innovation, high-quality craftsmanship and storytelling. 

The kind of flavours that can be achieved with Japanese ingredients is truly awe-inspiring and it’s fun to experiment with different combinations to see what happens. That’s why I wanted to create a Japanese cocktail that plays with different tastes, so here is a recipe for Okinawa Sunshine.

The Story 

Okinawa Prefecture is a chain of islands that are off the Japanese mainland and the culture is distinctive from Japan. Okinawans are strong believers in their own heritage and indigenous practices, generally living a more laidback lifestyle than the mainlanders.

This is evident in the tropical climate and drinking culture with local spirits like awamori. It’s in this heritage that Okinawa Sunshine was created from, mixing awamori, Okinawan rum and tropical flavours together.

The main attraction is Yokka Koji awamori, which stands out from other Japanese spirits in that the koji used in the production process has been left to ferment for four days instead of two. This unlocks a whole new level of flavour that lends itself to the cocktail.

Okinawa Sunshine cocktail.


4 ounces of Yokka Koji awamori (1 for every day of the koji fermentation)

½ ounce of Cor Cor Red rum

2 ounces of grapefruit juice

2 ounces of passionfruit syrup

1 dried orange peel  


  1. Pour four ounces of Yokka Koji awamori into a Boston shaker, followed by the two ounces of grapefruit juice.
  2. Add in the two ounces of passionfruit syrup and then pour in the ½ ounce of Cor Cor red rum.
  3. Stir in the shaker with cocktail spoon and then shake thoroughly for between 30 – 45 seconds.
  4. Pour cocktail into a junmai sake glass or martini glass and serve with dried orange peel.


  • The cocktail has bold, fruity, earthy notes that make it quite filling. It can be served and enjoyed at any time of the night.
  • An optional extra is to include a few blocks of ice to mute some of the stronger alcoholic notes from the awamori.

I’d love to know if you end up making Okinawa Sunshine at home and also check out this other original Japanese cocktail recipe called Wabi-Sabi.

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