100 Drinks from Japan

Besides the obvious variety of green teas Japan has a broad away of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. This section introduces the obvious and sometimes eventually surprising drinks found on the Japanese islands.

 Japanese Sake Rice Wine   #1 Sake rice wine probably is the best known Japanese drink in the world. You can drink it cold or warm and there are hundreds of different brands from hundreds of breweries. Learn more about the qualification system to distinguish sake qualities and flavors.

 

Umeshu Plum Wine    #2 Umeshu Plum Wine is one of the most popular Japanese liqueur. It is made of a base alcohol such as sake and Japanese plums and has a very nice sweet flavor. Often other ingredients such as green tea, lime fruits and others are added which explains the big variety of more than 300 brands from all over Japan.

 

Japanese Shochu    #3 Shochu is a distilled alcohol most often made from barley, sweet potato originating from southern Japan. It is consumed on ice, with hot water or mixed with fruit juices or tea. There are hundreds of different Shochu brands and some Izakaya restaurants are proud of listing many of them. Shochu has an alcohol percentage of about 25%.

 

Awamori Okinawa    #4 Awamori is a distilled alcohol from the Island of Okinawa. The production process is similar to Shochu but it uses rice from Thailand and a different fermentation mold. The alcohol ranges from 25% to 43%. Matured Awamori is called Kusu, Kusu has aged for a minimum of 3 years but a good Awamori can age up to 25 years.

 

Matcha Tea    #5 Matcha is the green tea powder tea used for the Japanese tea ceremony. It has a very intense and bitter flavor of green tea. It is consumed without sugar and said to be extremely healthy. Matcha tea is also very popular with Sushi restaurants where it is often served to guests at the end of the menu.

 

Japanese Whisky    #6 Japanese Whisky starts to be well known through the large brands such as Yamazaki and Nikka blended whiskeys. But Japan also is the worlds second largest producer of single malt whiskeys and there are many small distilleries producing exquisite and distinguished whiskeys hardly known to the international public.

 

Pocari Sweat    #7 Pocari Sweat is a popular Japanese non carbonated soft drink. It is slightly sweetened and has a light flavor of grapefruit with a little aftertaste. It originally was designed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Corporation to be consumed by people making sports to replace all minerals the body  loses when sweating but now it is available in supermarkets, convenience stores and vending machines.

 

Japanese Beer    #8 Beer is the most popular alcohol in Japan accounting for one third of alcohol consumption. Four large companies dominate the beer market with a broad range of brands such as Asahi Super Dry, Kirin Ichiban Shibori, Suntory Malts or Sapporo Black Label. Recently the number microbreweries is increasing offering regional alternatives to the large beer brands.

 

C.C. Lemon Japan    #9 C.C. Lemon is a mildly carbonated softdrink with lemon flavor made by Suntory. It became famous through an advertisement campaign featuring The Simpsons. Suntory claims that each bottle includes the vitamin C amount of 70 lemons. The flavor – for source – is lemon but the drink is not very acid.

 

Salty Sakura Tea    #26 SakuraTea is made of salted edible cheery blossoms. Hot water is poured over one or two cherry blossoms. The water frees up the flowery taste and scent of the flowers and it makes a slightly salty tea. Sakura tea is traditionally used for celebrations such as weddings.