Summer is here in the full swing. We thought that this summer would be cooler than usual, but it’s been extremely hot since August started.
Want to enjoy Nihon-shu deliciously in the hot summer? It’s a common desire for sake drinkers. It’s a classic way to drink it chilled on a hot day. Nihon-shu is so versatile that mixing it with other ingredients also comes out well.
So in this article, let me introduce you a method which is perfect for summer and most people in Japan surprisingly don’t know ‘Nihon-shu highball’.
・What is highball
Highball is a mixed whiskey drink with a larger proportion of carbonated water. Highball has been so popular in recent years in Japan that the majority of people drink whiskey this way. It’s so trendy that any bar you go to, you can spot many people drinking highball. In other countries, highball doesn’t seem to be so popular but in Japan, it has established the level of ‘whiskey means highball’. By the way, as for why it is called ‘highball’, the most known story is that in a golf course in Scotland when a group of people were tasting whiskey with carbonated water, which was uncommon back then, a flop shot ball dove into the glass.
From this incident, ‘ball’ means a liquor mixed with carbonated water. Therefore, ‘Nihon-shu highball’ means Nihon-shu mixed with carbonated water.
・Is Nihon-shu highball tasty?
Delicate flavor and fruity aroma are the characteristics of Nihon-shu and alcohol content is 20% at tops. It is weaker than whiskey and gin. The question is, is it still flavorful to drink Nihon-shu with carbonated water?
No worries. Although it carries a delicate flavor, there are many brands with full-bodied flavor Nihon-shu. Mixing those sake with carbonated water doesn’t overpower sake’s taste, in fact, carbonate acid evaporates in a palate and spreads the aroma into the retronasal, which actually enhances the aroma in Nihon-shu. It’s easier to drink and brings out a different sweetness apart from drinking it straight and the delicacy of Nihon-shu stands out. The alcohol is diluted so it’s perfect to accompany a meal. You can pair it with a wide range of dishes.
・Tips of making highball
Here are some tips for making highball: it’s important to keep a glass and sake in the freezer. However, Nihon-shu flavor changes significantly by temperature, not like whiskey, so keep Nihon-shu rather in the fridge. Golden ratio of Nihon-shu highball is 1:1. Whiskey highball is usually made with strong carbonated water, but when it comes to Nihon-shu, you can also use mineral sparkling water. Especially in western countries, there’re various mineral sparkling water resources than in Japan, different sparkling water results in variety of highball flavors to enjoy.
Enjoy the hot summer with chilled Nihon-shu highball!