Possibly Yorkville’s best kept secret, Kasa Moto has been quietly slinging some of the city’s prettiest cocktails for the past four years. The contemporary Japanese restaurant offers refined dining on the ground floor, while the second level boasts a sprawling patio that’s somehow managed to fly under the radar.
To appeal to both crowds, Jae Santos and Damian McIntyre draw inspiration from Japanese ingredients and their own backgrounds when designing cocktails.
Originally from the Caribbean, McIntyre’s bartending style revolves around all things tropical. “Bananas are our largest agricultural export,” says McIntyre. “I grew up on bananas so I make a banana and guava Mai Tai.”
While McIntyre reflects on his roots, Santos gets inspiration from his family. “My grandmother has a cantaloupe-lemonade she’s made for our family since we were kids and it’s a very simple recipe but it’s so delicious. I put that on our menu with a little bit of tweaking here and there, adding some different ingredients to elevate it,” he says.
But the two aren’t the only ones crafting Kasa Moto’s cocktails – the whole bar team is involved in the creative process. During brainstorming sessions, everyone gets to add their input, drawing inspiration from each of their own unique backgrounds and experiences to invent something special.