月別アーカイブ: 2021年6月

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New Promotion Coming Soon! Introducing Sake Cards!

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We are pleased to announce a new promotion at our store – sake cards! Very soon, we will be starting a new promotion, in which you will be able to collect sake cards. You will get one card if you purchase the product participating in the campaign.

With some cards, if you collect a certain amount of them you will be able to get a free gift! Some cards will contain a letter at the bottom right corner, so if you collect five cards of five different products with letters on them, by unscrambling the letters you will be able read the name of the product which will be your gift.  There are no misses, every product contains a card!

We will be releasing more cards little by little, so stay tuned for more information. We hope will enjoy collecting these fun sake cards and making your own little collection!

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July 4th Is Nashi Pear Day! Celebrate with Rien Nashi Liqueur

July 4th Is Nashi Pear Day

This day was established in 2004 by the “Togo Town Nijisseiki Pear Development Committee” in Togo Town, Tottori Prefecture (now Yurihama Town), a major producer of the Nijisseiki nashi pear. The date is based on the Japanese wordplay, in which the kanji reading of number 7 is “na” and 4 as “shi”.

Nashi refers to the types of pears that have been traditionally cultivated in Japan. It is said to be one of the oldest cultivated fruits in Japan. The history of pears can be traced back to the Yayoi period (around the 1st or 2nd century). The earliest edible seeds have been found in the Toro ruins in Shizuoka Prefecture.

The most famous pear is “Nijisseiki” produced in Tottori Prefecture, but there are other varieties such as “Kosui” and “Housui” that are the main producers. Nashi are beautifully crisp and juicy, with a thirst-quenching sweetness and creamy-white flesh. Nashi pears are not generally baked in pies or made into jams because they have a high water content and a crisp, grainy texture, very different from the European varieties. They are commonly served raw and peeled. Another popular way to consume nashi pears is in jelly desserts.

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Celebrate with Rien Nashi Liqueurs!

This is a great occasion to try Rien Nashi Liqueurs!

Rien Nashi liqueur is made from 100% premium nashi pears grown in the basin area of Hita, where the climate is characterized by a large difference in temperature between summer and winter, day and night, with the exquisite skills of the production staff at Oimatsu Shuzo. Serve chilled, on rocks, or mixed with soda. Great for cocktails as well!

For even more festive feeling, you can try the sparkling version of Nashi Liqueur, which was made to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the launch of Rien brand. It also has a lower alcohol content compared to the original Nashi Liqueur, so it can be enjoyed as it is, straight from the fridge.

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July 2nd Is Tako (Octopus) Day in Japan! Try a Popular Combination of Takoyaki and Highball!

Popular Combination of Takoyaki and Highball

Tako (Octopus) Day was established by the Octopus Research Association. The date comes from the fact that many people in the Kansai region eat octopus during the “half-summer” period around July 2. There is a lot of rain during this time of year, so the octopus is eaten in the hope that the crops will stick to the earth like an octopus’ sucker and take root firmly, as well as to build up strength and energy for the coming summer.

The most popular octopus food is without a doubt Takoyaki, ball-shaped flour dough filled with small chunks of octopus. Often topped with green onion, red pickled ginger, and the crunchy tenkasu, each ingredient brings out the umami flavor all condensed into one big mouthful piece of takoyaki. It is often found in festivals, sold in food stands, and eaten as snacks, hence its popularity as Japanese street food.

Highball, the soul drink of Japan, is a fusion of alcoholic base spirit and soda. Highballs are often made with Japanese whisky, but also shochu and sake. It may sound like a regular drink, but in Japan highball has become a part of the culture and is close to many people’s heart. It has rapidly become popular because of the refreshing flavor that is easy to drink and goes well with food.

Takoyaki and highball are a great match, and there are even restaurants and bars in Japan dedicated to enjoying this great combination!

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Kizakura Yuzu Highball

What could be better than celebrating Tako Day with this glorious match at the convenience of your home? Easily prepared takoyaki and refreshing yuzu highball are the right choice for this experience!

Kizakura Yuzu Highball is one of new series of Japanese RTD (ready to drink) sake cocktails. This highball is made from Yuzu infused in Kizakura semi dry sake and carbonated to give extra refreshment. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit which is tart and sour flavor, with a bit of bitterness and highly aromatic rind. This will go great with the sweet tasting takoyaki sauce!

This frozen ready-to-eat takoyaki, easily prepared just by warming up for a few minutes in the microwave. The chunks of octopus are quite big, so you can fully enjoy the chewy texture of the octopus!

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Juicy Gyoza and Beer Is the Perfect Combination!

Try Takeway Gyoza

Pan-fried gyoza is the most common way of cooking dumplings in Japan: the dumplings are fried on one side in a frying pan, then water mixed with a little cornstarch is added to the hot pan before being covered for a few minutes. While cooking, dumplings sometimes become attached to each other forming one unit. These are called hanetsuki gyoza, literally “winged gyoza”. These gyoza are then served with the grilled side facing upwards.

Gyoza is one of the most popular foods in Japan. No one can resist the meaty, umami-filled flavor of grilled gyoza. Juicy and satisfying, these dumplings are an extremely popular accompaniment for beer, and often eaten together with ramen. Gyoza is available in most of Japanese or Asian restaurants for takeaway and delivery, so how about trying this juicy goodness?

The best drink to go well with fried gyoza is, of course beer! Beer is distinguished by its bittersweet taste and carbonation. This bitter sweetness fits well with the rich tasting gyoza. Gyoza is very juicy but also a little bit oily so beer will have a refreshing effect on the greasy feeling and carbonation will clean your mouth. The taste of the gyoza mellows out the bitterness of the beer, making it an excellent synergistic combination. Also, beer has a low alcohol degree, so it can be drunk swiftly.

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Pair Gyoza with Refreshing Yuzu Lager

Speaking of refreshing beers, we are sure Hitachino Yuzu Lager would be the winner in this category! It is a fruity, citrus forward beer with a deep, bitter edge. The refreshing tartness of yuzu combined with the crispness of a lager is the perfect match for gyoza. On the palate you are greeted by a pleasant maltiness with an invigorating yuzu character. The beer finishes with a subtle hoppy bitterness with the citrusy character lingering throughout.

With its relatively low-alcohol content of 5.5%, Yuzu Lager can be drunk in larger gulps to let carbonation work its magic with its powerful ability to cool and refresh. We hope you enjoy this combination of juicy gyoza and refreshing Yuzu Lager!

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21st June is Snack Day in Japan! Celebrate with Abashiri Beer

Origin of Snack Day

June 21, which is Snack Day, often falls on the summer solstice, the day when daylight hours are the longest in the year. In some areas, there is a custom to celebrate the summer solstice by eating a snack called “kakusho,” which is similar to chimaki, or “hagatame,” which is a New Year’s rice cake eaten hard. This led to the establishment of Snack Day by the All Japan Confectionary Association.

What do you think of when you hear the word “snack”? For a lot of people, potato chips come to mind first. So let me tell you a little about the history of potato chips, one of the most popular snacks. Potato chips originated in New York City, USA. A customer eating at a hotel restaurant complained that the French fries were too thick. In response, they sliced the French fries extremely thin, which is said to be the beginning of potato chips. The first company to sell potato chips in Japan was Koikeya, which is also known for its Karamucho and Don Taco products.

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Celebrate with Your Favorite Potato Chips and Abashiri Beer!

Hokkaido Abashiri Beer was founded in 1988. The company uses German traditional way of brewing called “decoction”, and it brings the beer deep taste and rich flavor.

We invite you to try their very special Golden Ale or White Ale with your favourite potato chips on this Snack Day!

ABASHIRI Golden Ale is characterized by its beautiful pale golden color and attractive aroma. The ingredients used include local Abashiri barley malt and several varieties of German malt, giving it a clean taste with the original malt flavor and a hint of sweetness. The hops used are a variety with a mild aroma and a refreshing bitterness reminiscent of citrus peel. The brewing process is the “step infusion” method widely used in the United States and the United Kingdom, the home of craft beer. The result is a simple, yet addictive taste.

Abashiri White Ale is a unique and luxurious white ale made from “Kita no Honami”, a wheat grown in Abashiri, which produces a luxury white ale like no other. Orange peel and coriander seed provide a citrus scent that harmonizes with the mellow flavor of the wheat. Because of the non-filtration process, this style is rich in vitamin B contained in the beer yeast, which is said to be good for beauty and health.

 

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Yuzu Umeshu Won Gold at the Lyon International Competition for Two Consecutive Years!

For the second year in a row, Kishu Yuzu Umeshu (plum wine) has won the top gold medal at the 11th Concours International de Lyon (Lyon International Competition) held in France. Kishu Yuzu Umeshu is the first Japanese plum wine to win the top prize in the liqueur and spirits category for two consecutive years.

The Lyon International Competition is sponsored by Les Toques Blanches, an association of renowned French chefs representing the gastronomic city of Lyon, and the Lyon Sommelier Association. 9,261 brands from 43 countries entered this year’s competition in three categories, including wine and beer.

Up until now, a mix of knowledgeable amateurs and professionals in the field at each table would do the blind tasting and give scores. However, this year, due to the effects of the new coronavirus infection, the selection was made over a period of three weeks by nine top-class sommeliers.

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The Liquor and Spirits category was created in 2015 and has been growing in terms of entries and alcoholic beverages each year. In 2021, 392 brands from 30 countries entered the competition in this category, of which 129 (71 Gold and 58 Silver) were awarded.

Koji Nakano, president of the company, said that this product, which contains domestic yuzu juice in the regular umeshu made with fresh Nanko plums from Kishu region in Wakayama, was the first product he had worked on, and that he was encouraged by the fact that it is still being appreciated more than 10 years after its launch in 2006.

Click on the banner to watch the video of president’s commentary!
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12th June Is World Gin Day! Celebrate with Japanese Gin

Newly Emerging Japanese Gin 

It is no secret that Japanese whisky has a devoted following around the world to such an extent that its stock is draining at an astonishing rate. However, Japan has now turned to gin making by applying its meticulous know-how in distilling, which is happy news for all the gin fans.

Japan is naturally gifted when it comes to making gin, and there are several reasons for that. First of all, it has the experience. While gin might be a new field for the long-established distilleries in Japan, it is actually made from a base spirit that the distilleries have perfected through generations. For example, premium rice and sweet potato shochu makes a gin with gentle and soft mouthfeel.

Moreover, Japan has the right ingredients. While the predominant flavour comes from juniper berries, today gin is produced in different ways from a wide range of herbal ingredients, giving rise to a number of distinct styles and brands. Japan has a whole aromatic bouquet, including international culinary scene favorite yuzu, green tea and sansho pepper. These botanicals create a recognizable gin flavour but also makes it distinctly Japanese.

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Japan’s First Craft Gin

On this World Gin Day, we recommend trying a very special Japanese gin!

KI NO BI (‘The Beauty of the Seasons’) is inspired by tradition and is distilled, blended and bottled in Kyoto at Japan’s first ever dedicated gin distillery. The gin is made in a recognizable dry style but with a distinct Japanese accent.

KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin is created with Japanese botanicals such as yellow yuzu from the north of Kyoto Prefecture, Hinoki wood chips (Japanese cypress), bamboo, Gyokuro tea from the Uji region and green sansho (Japanese peppercorn) berries. KI NO BI uses a rice spirit base and peerless water sourced in the famous sake–brewing district, Fushimi.

In July this year, the spirit won a gold award at an International Wine and Spirits Competition in the UK, and has developed a strong international reputation.

This gin is a treat for all gin lovers!

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The Best Selling Sake in March: Dassai 45 Junmai Daiginjo 1.8L!

Last month’s best seller was Dassai 45 Junmai Daiginjo 1.8L!

Asahi Shuzo brewery took a gamble when it restructured to focus solely on Junmai Daiginjo sake, but it paid off and brought us this delightful sake. Thanks to them you can now try high quality sake at a reasonable price.

Dassai 45 is the improved version of the popular Dassai 50 which used to be known for its premium quality.  In the Dassai series, which include 23%, 39%, and previously 50% milling rates, Dassai 50 was the standard, easy-drinking sake, much like regular sake in most breweries. However, Asahi Shuzo believes that just because it is every-day sake, it should not be half-decent quality, or keep being produced as the same stable quality product.

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Since this is the sake that is most often consumed by our customers, they want to make it even better than it was before, and as close to the ideal flavor as possible. As a means to achieve this, the brewery has decided to polish the standard sake by an additional 5%, which might seem like a small amount, but it clearly increases the delicacy and cleanliness of the flavor.

With engaging flavors and easy pair-ability its no wonder that this sake is popular among sake fans. “There is no reason for us to craft sake unless it’s super delicious”,  this is the Dassai way. Using Yamada-Nishiki rice polished down to 45%, this junmai daiginjo delivers fruit aromatics and delicate sweetness.

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11th June Is Umeshu Day! Celebrate with Yuzu Umeshu

11th June Is Umeshu Day! 

Nyubai is one of the zassetstu (seasonal days created to match Japanese seasons as opposed to 24 Solar terms which were imported from ancient China), and it falls on June 10 or 11 every year, the 135th day after Risshun (first day of spring in the traditional Japanese calendar),  when the solar ecliptic longitude reaches 80 degrees.

In the old days, nyubai was the beginning of the rainy season, and it was a very important date for Japanese people in determining the time of rice planting. Nowadays, however, the meteorological term “tsuyu iri” is used to signify the beginning of the rainy season. The presence of the baiu weather front is the key, and the rainy season is decided by the movement of the this weather front, so it may come later or earlier than usual.

Both nyubai (入梅) and tsuyu (梅雨) contain a kanji which means plum and you might be wondering what the rainy season has to do with plums. It was actually named so because ume plums ripen in this season. So this is the season for the Japanese people to enjoy everything made from plums!

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 A Day to Enjoy Umeshu!

While there are all sorts of foods with ume in Japan, one of the best ways to enjoy it is undoubtedly umeshu! Therefore, it was decided by Japan Anniversary Association that 11th June will be Umeshu Day. This is the day to enjoy a premium quality umeshu!

One the top umeshu producers is Nakano BC. The brewery uses a superior quality Nanko ume from Wakayama to make its umeshu. To preserve the delicious flavor of ume, the brewing tanks are managed by a team of skilled workers who carefully check the acidity and sweetness of umeshu, mixing the fruit and changing tanks as necessary.

On their best-selling products is Nakano BC Yuzu Umeshu, which is a unique blend of yuzu juice, which was extracted from fruits in Shikoku Island and umeshu liqueur. The acidity of the ume fruit and the refreshing aroma of yuzu are well harmonized to create a pleasantly crisp flavour.

Since its release in 2006, it has been a long-selling plum wine that has remained at the top of the popularity charts, and is served in many restaurants all over Japan. It has won Gold medal in Liquor and Spirits Category at the Lyon International Competition in 2020 and 2021. Serve it on the rocks in summer, or hot with hot water in winter. You can also enjoy it with soda for a refreshing taste.

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