Japanese beverages

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Japan is one of the most visited destinations in the world. Tourists coming to Japan can have the opportunity of admiring beautiful natural landscapes, learning about the traditional culture of Japanese and moreover, experiencing the unique cuisine of this wonderful country. Here are some popular drinks that tourists can try in Japan.

>>  Japanese Tea

Tea

Green tea may be served to most japanese dishes. It is produced in Japan and prepared in various forms such as matcha, the tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony.

Beer

Beer production started in Japan in the 1860s. The most commonly consumed beers in Japan are pale-colored light lagers, with an alcohol strength of around 5.0% ABV. Lager beers are the most commonly produced beer style in Japan, but beer-like beverages, made with lower levels of malts called Happoshu (literally, “bubbly alcohol”) or non-malt Happousei (literally “effervescence”) have captured a large part of the market as tax is substantially lower on these products. Beer and its varieties have a market share of almost 2/3 of alcoholic beverages.

Beer in Japan via Los Angeles Times

Small local microbreweries have also gained increasing popularity since the 1990s, supplying distinct tasting beers in a variety of styles that seek to match the emphasis on craftsmanship, quality, and ingredient provenance often associated with Japanese food.

Sake

Sake is a brewed rice beverage that typically contains 15%–17% alcohol and is made by multiple fermentation of rice. At traditional formal meals, it is considered an equivalent to rice and is not simultaneously taken with other rice-based dishes, although this notion is typically no longer applied to modern, refined, premium (“ginjo”) sake, which bear little resemblance to the sakes of even 100 years ago. Side dishes for sake are particularly called sakana or otsumami.

Sake is brewed in a highly labor-intensive process more similar to beer production than winemaking, hence, the common description of sake as rice “wine” is misleading. Sake is made with, by legal definition, strictly just four ingredients: special rice, water, koji, and special yeast.

As of 2014, Japan has some 1500 registered breweries, which produce thousands of different sakes. Sake characteristics and flavor profiles vary with regionality, ingredients, and the styles (maintained by brewmaster guilds) that brewery leaders want to produce.

Sake flavor profiles lend extremely well to pairing with a wide variety of cuisines, including non-Japanese cuisines.

Shōchū via Boutique Japan

Shōchū

Shōchū is a distilled spirit that is typically made from barley, sweet potato, buckwheat, or rice. Shōchū is produced everywhere in Japan, but its production started in Kyushu.

Whisky

Japanese whisky began commercial production in the early 20th century, and is now extremely popular, primarily consumed in highballs (ハイボール haibōru). It is produced in the Scottish style, with malt whisky produced since the 1980s, and has since won top international awards, since the 2000s.

Wine

A domestic wine production exists since the 1860s yet most wine is imported. The total market share of wine on alcoholic beverages is about 3%.

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