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Catbus Garden Cocktail

Catbus Garden Cucumber Cocktail / Photo by Chelsea Kyle Prop Styling by Summer Moore / Food Styling by Jamie Kimm

Courtesy Christian “Suzu” Suzuki, bar manager at Wildhawk, San Francisco

“The name Catbus Garden comes from the Catbus spirit in the Japanese animated film, My Neighbor Totoro—a film I grew up watching,” Suzuki explains. “I remember in the film, the children would eat cucumber and corn with so much happiness and joy. I too, as a child, enjoyed cucumber and corn on a hot summer day in Japan.”

Corn potage—a creamy corn soup— provided inspiration for the syrup in this refreshing drink.

1 ½ ounces gin, vodka, blanco tequila or saké
1 ounce cucumber juice
½ ounce corn potage syrup*
½ ounce lime juice
Cucumber slice, for garnish


Combine all ingredients in a Collins glass. Add pebbled or crushed ice, then use a swizzle stick or long-handled bar spoon to gently mix.

Garnish with sliced cucumber.

How to make *Corn Potage Syrup

Boil 2 ears of corn until kernels soften. Remove kernels.

Combine corn kernels, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup preferred milk alternative and pinches of salt and pepper in pot and bring to a boil. Transfer to a blender, blitz and strain.

For a simplified version, combine equal parts heated milk alternative and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. It won’t be quite as flavorful as the corn version but will yield a similar result in the finished drink.

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2022 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!