Thinking About a Drink & Bar Business?

Like many people, this writer has not given much thought to what drinks to try in a Japanese bar.  After much research on the internet, some interesting facts have been revealed.  For one thing, many Japanese people are unable to ‘drink too much’, as their bodies lack the enzyme which breaks down the alcohol.  According to the information available, many drinkers simply fall asleep after consuming alcohol, while others—the unfortunate ones—can die from imbibing without having any other of the more fun effects of euphoria or ‘buzz’ after drinking.

However, there are still bars in Japan and even a few in other countries.  So, following is a list of alcoholic beverages which are likely to be found in a true Japanese bar.

  1.   Both men and women in Japan drink beer.  The consumption of beer is also across all age, socioeconomic, and lifestyle levels.
  2. Japanese drinkers love whisky.  They prefer local distilleries whose offerings are sold with water on the side.  Whisky is generally drunk by older men with substantial financial means.
  3. Previously thought of as a foreign drink, it is becoming more common place to drink wine or ‘clear’ spirits.  Women favor these alcoholic beverages more than men; but, as previously mentioned, women drink beer as well.
  4. This drink is the quintessential Japanese alcohol, and is surprising low on the list of the favorite Japanese alcoholic drinks.  It is served cold in the summer and hot in the winter.  Made from rice, it is favored by the older generation and those who enjoy their retirement years.  It also has a strong kick, and should be drunk with great care.
  5. There are many combinations of cocktails offered in Japanese bars.  Everything from a Sake Mojito to a Choya-tini, which is a combination of Choya Shiso, dry vermouth and a lemon twist can be on a menu, but mainly in high end bars and hotels.

Chinese historians have documented the fact that even ancient Japanese liked to drink alcohol.  As far back as the third century, the Japanese people celebrated life events such as weddings, funerals and festivals with drink.

Today’s Japan is no different.  Even though their drinking culture is far removed from the westerns culture, they do have a wide variety of alcoholic beverages available.  In addition to this, as with most things, the Japanese have a code of etiquette associated with it.

One is never expected to pour his or her own drink, for instance.  It is up to your friend, or even a total stranger, to fill your glass.  It is considered in poor taste. Speaking of glasses, they are usually small, with the liquor being poured into the glass from decanted bottles or cans.   Of course, there is also ceremony associated with the pouring of spirits, as both the pourer and receiver are expected to acknowledge the act with a smile and a bowed head as a thank-you.