Sunflower Smile Project

Sunflower Smile Project

By Yui Ogata

Representing: Japan

"I grew up in a very small farming town near Miyazaki, Japan on the Southern Island of Kyushu. Community is everything where I am from, so I took this approach to bartending. My goal is very simple: to make each customer leave happier than when they came, and it starts with a smile. While I was thinking about what to do for the Ketel One Garnished with Good Challenge, I decided to focus on things that make me smile.

In Miyazaki, where my bar is located, every summer we plant 1 million sunflowers that we later use to make fertilizer and renew the process. This attracts many people to our city and has become a sense of pride for the community. I knew this is where I wanted to start my project.

I created a sunflower and mango orgeat using the seeds from the sunflowers that we grow and local mangoes that are damaged and not suitable for selling to the public. Instead of throwing them away, I source them directly from the local growers. The city was immediately excited about my project and together we sought the help of a local centre for special needs. Patients of all ages joined the project. I taught them how to gather the seeds and make the orgeat. Now they sell it in their restaurant. Residents, tourists and bartenders buy from them to support the initiative.

As a bartender, I make more than drinks. I make my community smile. 

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Seeds of a Smile

Glassware: Coupe
Garnish: Sunflower Tuile (cookie) on rim of glass
Method: Use 20-degree Ketel One. Add all ingredients to a shaker, fill with ice and shake. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

30 ml Ketel One Family-Made Vodka
60 ml Sunflower Mango Orgeat

To make Sunflower Mango Orgeat:
Roasted sunflower seeds 100 ml
Mineral water 400 ml
Orange zest 2 g
Fresh mango 150 g
Beet sugar 60 g
Fresh lime juice 5 ml

In a blender, add 100 gm of roasted sunflower seeds, 400 ml of mineral water and 2 gm of orange zest and blend until smooth. Strain once in a strainer bag. Add 150 gm of mango to the liquid and blend again until smooth. Strain through a strainer bag. Mix in 60 gm of beet sugar.

Complete by adding 5 ml of lime juice for every 55 ml of the final liquid."