Mastering Mixology

At Martiny’s in New York City, Takuma Watanabe strives for excellence.

Takuma Watanabe creates precise, refined cocktails at Martiny’s in New York City, inspired by the hospitality culture from Japan.
Takuma Watanabe creates precise, refined cocktails at Martiny’s in New York City, inspired by the hospitality culture from Japan.

 Takuma Watanabe got his start in the bartending industry at Code Name Mixology in Tokyo in 2005, when he was just 20 years old. He learned the basics there for two years under the mentorship of mixologist Shuzo Nagumo, but it wasn’t until 2011, when he competed in the World Class Competition, that he began to make a name for himself in the cocktail world. Shortly after, he met Shingo Gokan, who at the time was the manager at the renowned Manhattan speakeasy Angel’s Share. Gokan quickly became another mentor to Watanabe. “He convinced me to move to New York City to further pursue my bartending career,” Watanabe says. Gokan did more than that: When Watanabe moved to the New York in 2013, a bartending job at Angel’s Share was waiting for him, and there he would stay— eventually becoming manager—until fall 2021. 

Today Watanabe is partner and beverage director of a new Manhattan bar concept, Martiny’s, which opened in April 2022. He’s been involved every step of the way. “From September 2021, when I left my position at Angel’s Share, up until we opened Martiny’s, I was focused heavily on research and development and helping to bring the concept to life, from the vision of the space to the cocktail menu to the overall hospitality experience,” he says. Martiny’s is a multilevel bar in a renovated 1800s carriage house in Gramercy: The ground floor is a swanky cocktail lounge, while the second floor offers high-end, rare spirits in a cozy, private home bar-like setting. Upon entering Martiny’s, guests are welcomed with a warm towel, as is common in Japanese hospitality. “I’m always in the pursuit of ‘shokunin,’ a Japanese term used to describe an artisan who masters their profession,” Watanabe says, noting that he hopes his cocktail menu (drinks are $21-$30) reflects this goal, with drinks like his Grand Martiny’s ($26), featuring Bombay Sapphire gin, La Cigarrera Manzanilla Sherry, St-Germain liqueur, Kopke LBV 2016 Port, and Hine Rare VSOP Cognac, and his Tea Ceremony ($30), comprising Nikka Coffey Grain whisky, Giffard white crème de cacao liqueur, hot coconut water, and matcha powder. 

“Training in Japan has shaped my style and approach to making cocktails greatly,” Watanabe adds. “Japanese bartending is very precise, detail-oriented, and refined. It’s about respecting the ingredients and creating well-balanced flavors—this is my philosophy when crafting cocktails. I’ve polished my skills, and will continue to do so, and through my cocktails I’m sharing my meticulously honed craft with the world.” 

Takuma Watanabe’s Recipes

Grand Martiny’s


1 ounces Bombay Sapphire gin; 

1 ounces La Cigarrera Manzanilla Sherry; 

ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur; 

ounce Kopke LBV 2016 Port; 

ounces Hine Rare VSOP Cognac; 



In an ice-filled mixing glass, combine gin, Sherry, liqueur, Port, and Cognac. Stir and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a grape. 

Tea Ceremony


1½ ounces Nikka Coffey Grain whisky; 

½ ounce Giffard white crème de cacao liqueur; 

1 ounce hot coconut water¹; 

1 tablespoon matcha powder; 

Hana hojiso flower or shiso leaf. 


In a bowl, whisk together matcha and coconut water, then set aside. In an ice-filled mixing glass, combine whisky and liqueur. Stir and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with matcha and coconut water mixture and stir. Garnish with a hana hojiso flower or shiso leaf. 

¹Warm the coconut water using an electric kettle or by microwaving for 10-20 seconds