Drinking is pretty prevalent in Japan. I’m kind of a lightweight there…especially in Naoto’s family where even his mother could drink me under the table. (And, as you know from my happy hour and cocktail posts, I do enjoy my cocktails!) Most often, the drink of choice is beer, especially for picnics or small parties or in the izakaya. At the izakaya, it was easy because I would order sours while everyone else enjoyed their Japanese beers. But in picnic or small party situations, I was worried that I would be left out because I hate beer. (Don’t give me the whole “acquired taste” schpeal…I’ve tried.)
Then, on our first trip to Japan, his sister took me over to the grocery store shelf that held the canned cocktails. Canned cocktails are just pre-packaged cocktails, often made with shochu and fruit juice. They aren’t as tasty as an Old Fashioned or a Tom Collins but they are good enough for a picnic. They are light and fruity and carbonated, easy to drink (and sometimes they sneak up on you…) Canned cocktails come in all sorts of flavors. Naoto’s sisters sent these home with him to give to me. The STRONG brand one is lemon and it is a potent 9% alcohol (hence the name). The Slat brand one is made with the açai berry and blueberry and it contains orange pulp (according to the red label with the orange icon). Slat is a much weaker 3% alcohol…there’s a little something for everyone’s tolerance!
Maybe the American equivalent of a canned cocktail is a Mike’s Hard Lemonade (gross) or a wine cooler (double gross), but trust me…the Japanese versions are tastier and I love that they include real fruit.
Portable options for non-beer drinkers…Japan Does It Better!!
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