Japanese people love chuhai, an easy-to-drink alcoholic beverage that is made by mixing shochu (Japanese white distilled liquor), vodka, or other spirits with fruit juice, cocktail and soda. Various types of canned chuhai are sold at the supermarkets and convenience stores in the country. Here are five of the recommended canned chuhai drinks that you can easily buy at Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores.
1. Horoyoi (Suntory)
Horoyoi is a mild and easy-to-drink beverage with 3% alcohol content. This drink comes in a wide array of variants, including 11 standard flavors such as Grape Sour, Peach and Plum Soda that are rich in fruity taste, and Cassis and Orange, White Sour, Iced Tea Sour and Cola Sour that have a slight fancy cocktail style, as well as seasonal products such as Hiyashi Pine (cold pineapple) and Suzumi Anzu (chilled apricot). The fun thing about this drink is that you can choose the flavor of your drink according to your mood. When fans were asked to vote, they chose the Shiroi Sour (white sour), with the addictive sweet and sour taste of milk, as their top favorite, and the Iced Tea Sour, with the pleasant aroma of tea, as their second favorite drink in this series. So, go, take this opportunity to try this chuhai at least once.
2. Hyoketsu (Kirin)
Characterized by the fresh taste of fruits and the design on the can that represents coldness and a refreshing feeling, Hyoketsu is a bubbly alcoholic beverage that uses fruit juice on a vodka base. This canned chuhai comes in a variety of flavors and series, such as the Hyoketsu Series that is composed of six standard products such as Sicilian Lemon, Grapefruit, Peach and Green Apple, as well as seasonal items; the Hyoketsu Premium Series that lavishly uses select ingredients; the Hyoketsu Strong Series that is low on the sweetness but high on the alcohol content; and the Hyoketsu Zero Series that is perfect for health-conscious individuals thanks to its zero sugar/purine/artificial sweeteners. For those new to chuhai, how about starting off with the standard Hyoketsu Series?
3. Umesshu (CHOYA)
Umesshu is a bubbly-type of alcohol that uses plum liquor from the juice and extract of whole plums that were soaked in sugar and alcohol over a fixed period of time, and this particular brand is made by Japan’s leading fruit liqueur manufacturer. In Japan, plum liquor started to be made in the Edo period (1603 – 1868), and since then, it has been a favorite drink of the Japanese for the summer. Choya’s Umesshu, which only uses additive-free plum liquor made from domestically produced plums, especially those from the Kishu region around Wakayama, boasts of outstanding balance between the sweet and sour taste of plums and the carbon acidity of soda. And if you like, you can squeeze lemon into it to transform its taste into a whole new level of deliciousness.
4. Kirin Chuhai Bitters (Kirin)
Kirin Chuhai Bitters, which uses bitter liqueur extracted from lemon peel and herbs, is an alcoholic beverage that is characterized by the bittersweet taste of fruit skin. This drink comes in a total of five flavors, including Horoniga (bittersweet) Lemon Lime, Horoniga Grapefruit, Horoniga Ginger, Extra Dry, and Kawagoto Shibori (squeezed) Lemon. Its 8% alcohol content is a little high compared to the other chuhai drinks in the market, but it has a refreshing sweetness and a bittersweet aftertaste that you will not get tired of so you can drink it like beer. This is the canned chuhai that is recommended to people who prefer low-sugar drinks.
5. Calori. (Suntory)
As its name suggests, Calori. is a low-calorie canned chuhai that contains 77kcal of calories in each can (350ml). Depending on the variant, it may even come with polyphenol, citric acid, and Vitamin C, so it has become popular among people who like to drink but are worried about the calories, and health-conscious individuals. Calori. comes in five standard flavors: Mediterranean Lemon, Grapes, Acerola, Grapefruit, and White Peach. They also have limited seasonal flavors. Aside from these drinks, this brand is also getting rave reviews for its cocktail-style COCKTAIL Calori. lineup. So, if you are wondering what those are, then you have got to check them out to find out for yourself!
Canned chuhai, which was originally developed in Japan, comes in many different flavors and variants. It is also a big hit among those who are new to drinking alcohol and those who want to drink various kinds of beverages. These drinks can be easily bought as they are generally priced at a reasonable 100 – 150 JPY per can, so please try them!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.