Innovative, thoughtfully designed original cocktails are the hallmark of the Mixology group of bars, and this tiny branch in the stylish Hibiya Okuroji corridor is no exception. The folks at Folklore are dedicated to exploring the characteristics of various types of sake and shochu, combining them with selected liquors, liqueurs and flavorings to experience them in an entirely new way.
A cocktail called "Origin" for example combines cloudy, unrefined doburoku sake with pear vodka, chamomile vodka and honey, while "Strawberry Forest" starts with the cult-favorite Kaze no Mori sake, adding double-strawberry gin, white port wine and vintage port wine.
The intriguing "aromatic wood" cocktail uses fragrant agarwood for flavoring alongside a sturdy Yamahai sake, tonka beans, butterscotch liqueur, and white port wine. The drink is cooled by a large ice ball infused with a bit of coffee, so the flavor subtly changes as the ice melts.
Perusing the menu, you'll find more familiar styles as well. Folklore's version of a margarita adds a sweet sake and an extra-dry sake to the base of tequila and Cointreau. Hot eggnog is simply a warm junmai sake plus egg, vanilla and heavy cream. Altogether you can choose from a few dozen different sake and shochu cocktails as well as tasting flights of unusual sake and shochu varieties. Or you can spring for a "course" of four cocktails and make a night of it.
The bar itself is elegantly appointed, with a subtle aroma of incense in the air and quiet music in the background. There are maybe six or seven bar seats, where you can watch the bartenders in action and chat with them about your drinks, as well as a couple of comfortable sofa-seating areas up front. The extremely discreet entrance is easy to miss; we had to ask the staff at another nearby branch of Mixology to help.
Folklore's food menu is limited to small snacks (smoked oysters, smoked camembert), so you might want to eat beforehand. Cocktails are typically priced at Y1,650-Y2,000, with an Y800 cover charge.
Open 4pm-midnight Monday, Wednesday, Thursday; 4-11pm Tuesday; 4pm-1am Friday; 2-11pm Saturday, Sunday.