You know Sake, Japanese rice wine. Do you know Shochu? It is a spirit with high alcohol content up to 45%. It seems to have been introduced to Japan by the 16th century from Asia and has been popular ever since.
You either enjoy it straight or on the rock, or by making cocktail by adding fruit juice. Yes, just like gin or vodka. The original materials are either wheat or rice or kumara. According to the master of a Yakitori bar we visited, some people like strong flavoured kumara ones, others stick to the clean taste of wheat. I loved the kumara shochu on the rock, which has a very unique aroma. I tried a wheat one in a restaurant but it was too neutral for my taste.
At home I enjoy drinking cans of ‘Chu-Hai’, with various fruit flavour. It is cheap. I used to buy them in the supermarket for 100 yen and bring them in my suitcase. This year I decided to buy bottles of shochu, as there is a limit for spirit through the customs and also cans are too heavy. One has a beautiful painting on the porcelain bottle and the small cup.
It is gluten free, so you can enjoy some of the numerous brands of shochu if you can’t drink beer.