Drinking is a highly personalized activity — a representation of your tastes and the culture in which you are drinking. In some parts of the world, cheap, accessible beer reigns supreme, while in others, vodka-based cocktails are what you will find everyone sipping on.
In Japan, bartenders are just as particular and precise with their cocktails as they are with (seemingly) everything else. Each drink must have the right amount of ice and the perfect balance of flavors, and it must all be brought together as an art performance.
Over the past couple of years, more and more attention has been directed at Japan’s cocktail bars as mixologists and customers alike push the boundaries of innovation.
Here are four things that make the Japanese cocktails scene more dynamic than ever.
It is safe to say that Japan has an obsession with vending machines, so much so that they are woven into the very fabric of the culture. When walking around Japan, you can find vending machines on the streets, in train stations, in parks, in office buildings — in other words, everywhere.
In these vending machines, you can find almost anything from flying fish soup to hamburgers, surgical masks and, of course, cocktails.
The proliferation of cocktail vending machines has meant that cocktails are more accessible to obtain, while also making them slightly less “boogie” and more on a parallel with more common alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine.
While a vending machine will never be able to recreate the ambiance and thrill of a dimly lit cocktail bar, the introduction of this new form of a cocktail is undoubtedly making the whole industry more thrilling.
In addition to Japanese cocktails, Japanese brunches are attaining fans all around the globe. The food, the vibe and the experience of a Japanese brunch are unique compared to other countries’ weekend meals. Instead of eggs and waffles, you will find your plate filled with rice, fish, and pickled vegetables (as well as a range of other sides).
That being said, imagine the passion that surrounds a combination of these two Japanese culinary experiences — Japanese brunch cocktails.
Sake cocktails are always a firm favorite, with options such as the refreshing grapefruit, ginger, and lemongrass sake cocktail, the fancy sake champagne mojito, or the casual raspberry sake tea cocktail.
As one of the best locales in the world for brunch, it should come as no surprise that the best Japanese restaurant in Abu Dhabi does a fantastic brunch, complete with exciting cocktails.
It is a well-known fact that Japanese women are incredibly on top of their health and wellness regimens, especially when it comes to skincare. So it should come as no surprise that these lifestyle choices are also being reflected in the cocktail mixes on offer.
Drinks such as low-calorie sparkling wines with collagen, trendy green tea cocktails, and anything with sake (it has incredible health benefits) are popping up on menus all over Japan — and probably on your local cocktail menu in the not too distant future.
Tagged as the next big thing, Japanese gin is making a wave in the world of sophisticated alcohols, and it is time for you to get on board. Despite it being a relatively new market for the Asian country, artisanal-gin distillers have not wasted any time getting creative and pushing some of the most exciting products onto the global market.
Generally, all gins require juniper and botanicals such as cinnamon and coriander, and the Japanese gins certainly do. So what makes the Japanese gins distinct is that they incorporate products that are uniquely Japanese. For example, yuzu, sansho pepper, Sakura and cherry blossoms are added.
The addition of these flavors creates a gin unlike any you have tasted before and enables you to take a sip of culture through your weekend cocktail. For starters, try some of Japan’s most famous gins, such as Suntory Roku, Nikka Coffey Gin, and Sakurao Limited.
Have you hopped on board the Japanese cocktail trend? What aspects of their cocktail culture do you enjoy? Let us know in the comments below!