Tsukimi, or moon-viewings, are celebrations held in Japan to honor and view the autumn moon. Last night at Japan House we welcomed guests who have been particularly generous in supporting Japan House. Without private donations we would not be able to fulfill Japan House's mission of promoting an appreciation of Japanese arts and culture and helping our visitors find a moment of peace in their day. We are always looking for ways to thank them so this year we chose to share the pleasures of a moon viewing with them.
We welcomed our guests with traditional decorations of autumn grasses throughout the house:
Tamaki Levy, a Japanese food nutritionist who has been working with Japan House, prepared a menu of light refreshments based on foods associated with temples and moon viewings. They were absolutely beautiful and truly delicious! I hope to post some of her recipes here so please check back.
Guests enjoyed sake, tea, wine or, the most popular drink of the evening, the Citrus Ginger Sake Spritzer!
Many asked for the recipe so we are sharing it here. It is adapted from a recipe based on a popular Japanese drink called the Yuzu Sour. Our version uses less sugar and more sake!
Japan House Sake Spritzer
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
3 inches of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
2 limes, juiced and rind quartered and reserved
2 grapefruits, juiced and rind reserved (we used pink grapefruit)
10 oz. sake
lemon lime soda to taste
Heat the sugar, ginger and water over medium high heat. Stir frequently until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool. Strain out ginger. Chill and use five ounces of syrup for the recipe.
Combine lime juice, grapefuit juice, sake, and ginger syrup. Cut 1 1/2 squares of grapefruit and lime rind and pulp, and add to pitcher. Add ice if wanted and muddle contents of the pitcher together. Add lemon lime soda to taste. Pour into glasses and add slice of lime.
Here is Tamaki completing last minute preprations for the evening:
Our guests also enjoyed a presentation on the moon by Brian Fields, Professor of Astronomy here at the University of Illinois, and because poetry is often associated with moon viewing, haiku expert Lee Gurga also spoke about haiku and encouraged our guests to use the moon as inspiration for a haiku!
Thanks to all those that attended. And if you didn't attend, perhaps you should make yourself a sake spritzer or some green tea....and sit and enjoy the moon tonight!