Japanese Drinks - Happy Hour

Favorite Tipples. Koro Sake And Pilsner Urquell Beer. Sepa...

I don’t always drink beer. But when I do, it’s usually Pilsner Urquell. OK, that’s not true. It is usually from one of Japan’s quite passable large brewing companies. But without a doubt, my favorite beer in the world is Pilsner Urquell. And that tells you a lot about my preferences.

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Lees, Dregs, By-product: It's all Sake Kasu. Tasty and Hea...

Should you frequent sake retailers with anything resembling a good selection of sake, you will often find for sale bags of sake kasu: beige chunks and chips of something resembling cheese or tofu. Sometimes, the unmistakable fragrance of sake wafts up from the clear plastic bag as it sits on the counter.

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Ocha Green Tea: An Introduction to the 'Efficacious Leaves...

For many, tea conjures up images of Typhoo and Lipton, a British stiff upper lip and a Boston punch-up that got nicely euphemized into a ‘party’. But Japan’s love affair with tea, the green variety, ocha that is, dates back to its introduction from China, although no one can really agree when that was. Some suggest the Nara period (710 AD to 794 AD), while another source credits the introduction t...

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Drinking in Japan: An Introduction. On Izakaya and Red-Fac...

Whether you’re drinking the locally brewed beer of Hokkaido, the fine sakes of Kyoto and Hyogo, or the grain liquor shochu of Kyushu and the awamori firewater of Okinawa, the party will no doubt be hopping.

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Cha-no-yu Part 2: The Tea Ceremony. Harmony, Respect And B...

The Tea Ceremony is nothing more than boiling water, steeping tea, and drinking it. Thus spoke the great patriarch of all that is tea, 16th-Century tea master, Sen-no-Rikyu, and his word is both lore and law. Rikyu, and his adherents over the centuries, believe that a tea ceremony, unlike the aforementioned avant-garde Beyoncé-inspired version, must be infused with wakeiseijaku – harmony, respect,...

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Cha-kaiseki: Fine Dining for the Tea Ceremony

No, it's not a mere accompaniment to a cuppa, but you knew that, didn't you? Cha-kaiseki ryori is the name given to the strictly formalised, painstakingly and artistically crafted cuisine, that is served at a chaji tea function in advance of the tea itself. Cha-kaiseki, as it is commonly called, is the precursor to the more widespread general kaiseki cuisine that is typical of formal dining outsid...

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A Brief Introduction to Sake 1: From Cradle To Grave

From the first visit to a Shinto shrine at one month old, to the Buddhist funeral rites, the Japanese are accompanied by sake, also known as nihonshu. Its place in religious life comes from its associations with rice – the food of the gods – and its symbolic purity. Sake is consumed at every major rite-of-passage in a Japanese person’s life.

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Nihonshu a Brief Introduction 2: Some Basic Sake Terms

In part 2 of Nihonshu, A Brief Introduction.  I dip into some of the basic sake terms.  For anyone who wants understand the value of sake or how to better enjoy it, these terms provide the landscapt for understanding nihonshu.

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Naka-Whatevuh: the Middle Way of Sake and the Lovely Nagan...

John Gauntner, from the archive, writes: Naka in Japanese means middle. The character (中) is one of the easiest to remember of the gazillion or so that there are to learn.

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Mitobe Shuzo Part 3: From Fune to Fabulous Junmai

Mitobe-san and Yuuki-san give us a guided tour of the brewery. The summer months - we visit late August - are relatively quiet, but in winter, the premium sake-making period, it's a morning until night whirlwind of junmai activity, that magic blend of inspiration and perspiration that is top level sake-making.

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Mitobe Shuzo Part 1: Master Sake Makers Of Yamagata

Tendo is a sleepy rural town in Japan’s rural northern Yamagata Prefecture, famed for its production of shogi chess pieces, its fertile farmland fed by the pure waters flowing down from the Ou mountain range, and a Panasonic factory producing hi-tech camera lenses. It is also home to sake giant Dewasakura. However, it is to meet another local sake maker that the Foodies Go Local team takes the bul...

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Whether it's Beer, Bi-ru, or Bakushu, the Japanese Love th...

The Japanese love beer bi-ru (rhymes, sort-of, with ear-oo), and although their brews cannot compete with the variety and quality of, say, their European counterparts, beer drinking is an essential part of the culture. 

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