Alayna Caruso






Lemon Myrtle, Dehydrated Yuzu


60ml ROKU Gin

15ml Lemon Myrtle Traditionelle French Sparkling Reduction

15ml Lemon Juice

40ml Homemade Yuzu Soda




This intimate cocktail is a toast to Minami Seki, a very good friend of mine from Saitama, Japan.

Minami and I met six years ago on her student exchange to a very hot Australian summer, and despite an enormous language barrier we quickly became close.

Roku Gin is the exceptional hero spirit of my creation, of which I crafted to have lifted and aromatic qualities whilst maintaining the earthy and herbal character of Roku.

I foraged the gloriously aromatic Australian native lemon myrtle to integrate a slightly herbal note from our own outback, in a method traditionelle French sparkling reduction. I specifically selected this sparkling for its blossom, white fruit, and citrus qualities that harmonize perfectly with the bright profile of Roku. To really make this tipple burst with a white garden aroma and provide an effervescent and delightful mouthfeel, the drink was topped with a homemade yuzu soda, highlighting one of my favourite traditional Japanese botanicals of the Gin.

The final product is what I believe to be a delicate, refined drink that heroes not only the flavours of two nations but captures the beauty of the relationship I have with a friend close to my heart but half a world away.

This drink is a celebration of a friendship built on confused looks, broken language, unbearable heat, and a lot of laughter. To this day, Minami and I continue to write monthly letters to each other, ending each one with the words “see you again.”

“Saikai” is the Japanese word for reunion.

A toast to you, Minami!

Bush Fire Donations and Masterclass


The cocktail, SAIKAI, will be listed on the menu at Nola Adelaide and available for purchase from the 10th of February 2020.

The story behind the cocktail, SAIKAI, celebrates friendship and reunion. In true reflection of this theme, Nola will be donating $2 from each SAIKAI sale to the Red Cross Bushfire relief fund from the 10th to the 24th of February. The Red Cross Bushfire relief fund provides immediate needs for those affected by the widespread bushfires, as well as focuses on ways to rebuild community spirit and resilience.

Upon ordering a SAIKAI at our bar, customers will be invited to take a polaroid photo alongside whomever they are sharing the evening with. The polaroid will then be served alongside the cocktail, allowing the customers to reflect upon their friendship whilst enjoying their drinks.

On the 19th of February a free masterclass will be held in the upper mezzanine bar of Nola Adelaide. The masterclass will be hosted by finalist, Alayna Caruso, and will detail the background story of SAIKAI, as well as provide insight into the hero spirit used (ROKU GIN), and will finish off with a tasting of the cocktail.