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Oct 19, 2006 01:47 PM

Shochu-Highball....New chu-hai from Mercian.

In preparing for a trip back to Tokyo next month, I wanted to see if my favorite canned chu-hai (shochu highball) was still available.

Mercian is more known for their wine, but their "Honshibori" series of canned chu-hai are the best in class. "Honshibori" meaning something like "freshly squeezed". Of course nothing in a can could beat freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, a splash of sour mix, some soda, and a heavy hand of poured shochu, but the "Honshibori Grapefruit" from Mercian comes pretty darn close. The label on the can boasts that the drink is 28% fruit juice, which I guess beckons the question- is the other 72% shochu? No, but these drinks are 7% alcohol. Anyhow, I was pleasently surprised to see that besides lemon, grapefruit, lime, and orange, Mercian is this month, launching two more types- "Winter Citrus" and "Wakayama Mikan". I didn't even know Wakayama Prefecture was famous for mikans, but this drink boasts a whopping 44% fruit juice content. Can't wait to try both of them.

These chu-hai tend to sell at a slight premium over others- especially the Kirin offerings, but the price is worth it. It's cheaper than beer, more alcohol, and less calories....You'll always find chu-hai on my training table!

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  1. Having worked at a sake shop it was interesting to see who bought the chuhai. Mostly hip office ladies.

    Sembikiya, the fruit shop, has fruit juice cocktails of mango or melon. 219 yen for 280 ml. 6% alcohol, so similar to beer.

    Silverjay, I hope we can connect when you are in town!

    1. Yukari, are you still working at the departo? I remembered that you have been but am not sure if that is still the case. Will be visiting Tokyo as well and would love to meet you in person!

      1. You might want to try the -96c chuhai, they take fruit and freeze it at guess what temperature, and then smash the whole fruit to a powder. The grapefruit was not bad. Can't remember which company put them out. They had an amazing website with exploding fruit etc.

        1. OK so it is actually -196 chuhai by Suntory
          here is a link:

          2 Replies
          1. re: steamer

            Now I'm intrigued. Thanks for the info. Will definitely try.

            1. re: Silverjay

              Follow-up: Only to say on this site that I did it, I went all the way a finished a can of this dreck- though I wanted to stop half-way. Overly sweet and disgusting, not to mention an unattractive can design.

          2. I would head to a convenience store, 7-11, etc. as they tend to have a wide variety of the newest drinks available.