5 Must Have Japanese Drinks
One thing I can say confidently is that I have never had a bad meal in Japan. Not only food, but be it sake, whisky or beer. This might be a reason why most nights in Japan ended blurry and I am not sure how we survived things like waking up at 6 AM to visit a sake brewery after drinking beers at a bar with their shutter down till 3 AM.
While Japanese sake needs no introduction (check out our Sake photo feature), Japanese whisky is being spoken about a lot lately and the craft beer scene is booming as well. Here are five Japanese drinks you should get your hands on.
Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Sake
Sake is not just sake if you are dining at 3-star Michelin restaurant, Kikunoi. Brewed during the sakura season, notes of tropical fruits, earthy tones and of course, floral notes of cherry blossom and a slightly savory finish made this sake truly special. It was a great way to start and finish a lunch by Chef Yoshihiro Murata.
Syuzan Kaido Amber Ale
One of the best Japanese beers I have tasted. Dark amber color, off white head and slightly hazy. Caramel, hazelnuts, toffee notes with underlying spice and a big malt finish. Slight amount of cocoa and coffee notes as well, which are usually not expected in an amber ale but interesting nonetheless.
Hitachino Nest Dai Dai IPA
A brand by Kiuchi brewery which started sake production in 1823 and beers in 1996. Hitachino labels are hard not to like and so are the beers. This is an IPA brewed with daidai, a very bitter orange like fruit which is seldom eaten, except for the peels which are used for flavoring.
The beer is a very light style of IPA with citrus and orange notes dominating the nose and palate. Fruit favors lead to caramel and malt notes and slight bitterness. The hops hardly kick in which is slightly disappointing but over all an interesting beer to try.
The Hakushu Heavily Peated
I was sold just with the name. To put things context, we found a whisky bar called K6 in Kyoto, which had over 500 whiskies by the dram! There is no age mentioned on the bottle but it tasted young, around 10 years I would say. The whisky is overall soft, with earthy and grass like notes and of course the smoky flavors. Think of lighting up a cigar while it’s just started raining and all you can smell is petrichor. Now put all of that in a bottle. Here’s the kicker, this whisky is discontinued but there are stocks still around. So if you find this at a bar or a shop, just go for it.
Nikka Coffey Still Grain
Whisky number two on the list and again, with no age mentioned. Seems like the right time to plug this article about whisky age!
Coffey still implies the whisky is distilled in a patented column still and is produced mainly from corn. The first impression is Bourbon like sweetness and aromas of orange peels, coconut and vanilla. Tropical fruits, sweet spices and oak notes on the palate. This is not a malt whisky, it does not have a specified age and it is absolutely excellent.
Love these drinks? Time to travel to Japan!
Singapore Airlines and its regional carrier – SilkAir, combined offer 85 weekly connections from India to Singapore. Singapore Airlines provides 63 onward weekly connections from Singapore to four iconic cities (Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo) in Japan.