Bar Benfiddich

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Yamatoya Bldg. 9F 1-13-7 Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ward, Tokyo 160-0023

Bartending begins at home for Hiroyasu Kayama. He’s converted his childhood bedroom, just north of Tokyo, into a drying room for the herbs he grows and forages. That’s also where he keeps the 20-litre pot still responsible for his famous homemade absinthe, a drink that helped make his name as one of Japan’s most creative drinks-makers. More recently, the wormwood has also been popping up in his inspired twist on a Gimlet.

You never know what to expect when you take a seat at the black walnut counter in Kayama’s tiny ninth-floor bar. He might reach for one of his unusual infusions, or perhaps a vintage liqueur, many of which are older than he is. His drinks draw big crowds these days, so don’t even think about turning up in a large group. But if Benfiddich is full, try Kayama’s brandy and elixir-focused Bar B&F, which he opened in April 2017 in the same building.