What Exactly Is Chuhai?
Chuhai (チューハイ or 酎ハイ), an abbreviation of "shochu highball" (焼酎ハイボール), is an alcoholic drink originating from Japan.
In post-war Japan, whiskey was truly a luxury, so most drinkers opted for shochu, an inexpensive spirit that in the chaotic post-war period was often of dubious origin and tasted foul. To make it easier to drink, street stalls mixed it with soda water and dubbed it a "shochu highball," or "chuhai." As the concoction spread, variations were created by adding fruit juice, flavored syrup or tea to the mix.
Chu hai has come to be known as a three-ingredient drink that consists of shochu, fruit juice, and sparkling water. Luckily, shochu is much higher-quality alcohol now.
Chuhai Has Varying Alcohol Content
Chu hi alcohol content changes from flavor to flavor, ranging from 3% to 9% ABV (anything higher than 10% triggers a higher tax rate in Japan).
The flavor combinations are one reason why the alcohol content varies. Fruity flavors, such as citrus, pair well with alcohol and can stand up to higher alcohol concentrations, while other flavors, like grape, apple, and peach, taste better with less alcohol. Usually, women in Japan want a lower-alcohol beverage, so they tend to favor these fruit flavors.
A recent trend has been "strong chuhai" with zero sugar added. These chuhai drinks are popular because they are cheap, not too sweet and go well with food.
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