Japanese Cocktails to Mix Up Your Next Night Out

Japan has a robust drinking culture, and many social occasions revolve around alcohol. In fact, it has only recently become socially acceptable to refuse alcohol in favor of soda or water at social events such as company year-end parties and springtime picnic. Although Japan does have a beer and wine scene, cocktails are also very popular. Some cocktails are familiar around the world, while others make use of uniquely Japanese ingredients. In Japan, these cocktails are served everywhere from small bars to upscale Japanese restaurants.


This cocktail will appeal to gin fans. It contains three parts gin to seven parts umeshu, which is a Japanese form of plum wine. It is a strong cocktail, because it doesn’t include any kind of mixer, but it is also flavorful and somewhat sweet, thanks to the plum wine. Umeshu is the base for a large number of cocktails in Japan and is often enjoyed simply with tonic water. The umetini is typically served in a martini glass.

Matcha Hai

If you’re looking for something with a little less of a kick, consider a matcha hai. Matcha hais are 50% club soda. The rest consists of lemon juice, gum syrup, matcha powder, and whiskey. Matcha powder is widely available in just about every bar in this Japan, so while it may be a specialty ingredient in other countries, you can generally order a matcha hai in any bar or restaurant in Japan.

Lemon Sour

Lemon sours are one of the most popular cocktails in Japan. It is a bright and tart drink that consists of three ingredients in equal measures: lemon juice, club soda, and shochu, which is hard liquor that is made from distilled grains or sweet potatoes. The lemon juice is sometimes substituted with juice from other citrus fruits, including grapefruit, lime, and yuzu.

At House of Genji, you will find a variety of cocktails on our menu that make perfect accompaniments to our Japanese food in San Jose. Contact us today to learn more about our teppanyaki meals and the rest of our menu by calling (408) 453-8120.

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