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Japan

Japan is not only about saké . Whiskey and vodka are just a few of their spirits that are bursting onto the world stage.

About Japanese Spirits

While Japan produces both quality wine and sake, they are merely the tip of the drinks iceberg. The country’s whiskys—made famous by the 2003 film Lost in Translation—are setting new standards. They differ from their Scottish siblings as the weather is warmer in Japan, the water is considered to be exceptionally pure and the Japanese are generally considered to be perfectionists. There are both malt and grain versions of Japanese whisky.

Japan also makes Shochu: a distilled spirit with an alcohol content of that hovers around 30 percent alcohol by volume that is generally made from rice, sweet potatoes, wheat or sugar cane.

In addition to the country’s internationally renowned whiskeys, there are also unique other riffs on the drink. A whisky highball, which is often simply called a highball, is a carbonated drink made of a mix of whisky and soda water. While it originally became famous in the 1950s, the drink is recently enjoying a resurgence as it has been successfully promoted as an alternative to beer. Japan is also known for its gin production, made with local botanicals, such as yuzu.