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Not available in the US

tokyopix Nov 1, 2011 06:37 PM

Having just found out that something that is readily available here (and not too expensive) isn't available in the US (Amer Picon) I thought I might look for some other similar items. They might make nice gifts for cocktail-loving friends when I come home for the holidays.

Along with the Picon I'm thinking maybe the Hermes Violette would be a good one to bring back.

Any other suggestions for things we don't get in the US to look for? I'm new to this liquor store exploration, but I passed a window display the other day with many different gins so I'm hoping that Tokyo might turn out to be fertile hunting ground.

Many thanks!

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  1. barleywino RE: tokyopix Nov 2, 2011 05:19 AM

    if you see any Giffard Abricot du Roussillon, get a bottle of that

    3 Replies
    1. re: barleywino
      tokyopix RE: barleywino Nov 3, 2011 03:51 AM

      Found it! What do you like to do with it? I've been wanting to recreate an apricot-champagne cocktail I had at Pegu Club years ago. Sadly I recall nothing more about it than apricot and champagne and that I thought it was lovely.

      1. re: tokyopix
        barleywino RE: tokyopix Nov 3, 2011 08:41 AM

        excellent! send me a bottle! (just kidding) here are some ideas http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/se...

        1. re: barleywino
          tokyopix RE: barleywino Nov 3, 2011 04:42 PM

          Are you in the Philly area??

          Thanks for the recipes. I'm excited to try some!

    2. EvergreenDan RE: tokyopix Nov 2, 2011 07:49 AM

      You might cross-reference what you can get with what you *can't* get at drinkupny (or similar) and post some possibilities. That way people could chime in with ideas.

      Also knowing what your friends like would help. E.g. don't give a bottle of coveted Amer Picon to a Scotch drinker when there are unavailable-in-the-US Japanese scotch-like whiskeys.

      www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

      1 Reply
      1. re: EvergreenDan
        tokyopix RE: EvergreenDan Nov 2, 2011 05:54 PM

        Great idea. It's a holiday here today and I'm going to scout a couple of the liquor stores that are rumored to have vast selections of all kinds of things. I've got my iPhone ready to take pictures so that I can look up things I haven't heard of once I get back. I'll post any possibilities I come across.

        I'm buying for cocktail lovers more than scotch lovers, but after seeing the post below I think I'll try to get one or two of the Japanese whiskies for friends who enjoy Scotch (and some for me to try too!) Luckily 3 of us fly back for the holidays so I can stuff bottles into several different suitcases.

      2. sku RE: tokyopix Nov 2, 2011 09:36 AM

        If you have friends who like Scotch, go for whisky.

        We get very little Japanese Whisky in the US. The only things we have currently are Suntory Yamazaki and Hibiki. Nikka and Hakushu are rumored to be arriving sometime soon, but still not here, and we don't get anything from Karuizawa, Chichibu, Ichiro's Malt, Miyagikyou or any other distilleries. This is great stuff that any malt whisky lover would be thrilled to get.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sku
          tokyopix RE: sku Nov 2, 2011 05:56 PM

          Thanks for this tip. I hadn't thought of Japanese Whisky since I know very little about Scotch, et al. and didn't even think about the quality of those spirits here. I'll do some research and see if I can come up with a couple to try.

        2. r
          rlee21 RE: tokyopix Nov 3, 2011 10:27 AM

          Despite persisting rumors that they will be imported to the US soon, to my knowledge, Suze and Swedish punsch of any sort still have not made it to these shores.

          Also, there are several gins and whiskeys that are made specifically for export to the Japanese market (eg. Jack Daniels does this, though I can't remember what the names of the export only JD products are). There may also be some spirits in duty free that can't be found elsewhere, like the discontinued Beefeater Crown Jewel.

          4 Replies
          1. re: rlee21
            tokyopix RE: rlee21 Nov 3, 2011 04:41 PM

            I grabbed a tiny bottle of Suze to try. i didn't notice any punsch but I didn't know to look for it.

            The selection at this shop was overwhelming. They had to have 100 different rums/rhums/etc. And that section paled in comparison to the Scotch/whiskey/etc. section. There were more vermouths than I'd heard of, too (Yzaguirre, Routin) some quite expensive (1970 Buton Rosso Antico for Y6300).

            Lots of gins were new to me, too. There were so many there along with several genevers. Also several barolo chinatos, which I've been wanting to try, so I bought my first one of those.

            I mostly took a lot of pictures, learned that the Hermes Violette is gone for good (I was hoping for a left over bottle) and bought several things to start a basic cocktail bar. I don't think I got anything unusual this time but it was really fun to spend an hour looking at the hundreds and hundreds of bottles they have!

            1. re: tokyopix
              magic helmet RE: tokyopix Nov 23, 2011 02:18 PM

              Hermes Violet gone! I'm crushed, I was still hoping to find some again somewhere sometime. However, the shop sounds fantastic, can you share the name/location? I get to Tokyo on occasion - in fact got the Violet there last time - and would interested in checking it out if it's not too challenging to find.

              1. re: magic helmet
                tokyopix RE: magic helmet May 22, 2012 08:49 AM

                So sorry, magic helmet! I don't know how I missed this. I think I had all the replies expanded and didn't realize new ones could be added mid-thread. I was brand new to chowhound posting then. Apologies!

                Here is a link to the shop. It is practically in Meijiro station it's so close. Super easy to get to. Proprietor is really nice, doesn't speak much English but we get by between my limited Japanese and our shared French.


                This link talks a lot about the beer which I don't drink so I've never checked out. The non-beer selection is mind bogglingly (is that a word) vast, especially for a girl from a state store state so don't think this is just a beer shop.

            2. re: rlee21
              Tripeler RE: rlee21 Nov 4, 2011 04:13 AM

              There are a lot of specialty bourbons and rye whiskies that are made in the U.S. for sales in Japan only. Some of them, like Very Old St. Nick's rye, are quite delicious.

            3. Dapuma RE: tokyopix Nov 5, 2011 07:07 AM

              Cinzano Orancio

              It is orange vermouth, they dont import it to the US

              Makes some great drinks that I had in Europe, it isnt expensive - unless you have to pay for shipping to the states which makes it cost prohibitive, so great bottle to bring back

              2 Replies
              1. re: Dapuma
                tokyopix RE: Dapuma Nov 7, 2011 04:31 AM

                We just tried this for the first time at a new pizzeria. My husband liked it a lot so I think I'll grab a bottle for the home bar. What were the drinks you had it in that you liked so much?

                1. re: tokyopix
                  Dapuma RE: tokyopix Nov 9, 2011 09:16 AM

                  Had it at Rules in London

                  Golden Negroni

                  Tanqueray Gin & Campari,
                  Cinzano Orancio& Miclo Poire William

                  Was really good, assuming it will make quite a few other interesting cocktails as well

              2. ellaystingray RE: tokyopix Nov 7, 2011 11:04 AM

                Havana Club. There is no need to muck about with the low end of the portfolio--they are perfectly fine but nothing special unless you are terrifically impressed by the label saying Cuba. However, the 7 year and the Seleccion de Maestros are really good.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ellaystingray
                  tokyopix RE: ellaystingray Nov 7, 2011 02:25 PM

                  Wonderful - thanks for the suggestions. There were so many Havana Club bottles at the big shop I went to and there are a few at my local so I'll scout around for the 2 your recommend.

                2. t
                  theregoesnorman RE: tokyopix Nov 8, 2011 07:58 AM

                  Carlshamm's Flaggpunsch is the most widely available swedish punsch, and I highly suggest it if your cocktail friends are of the forgotten/antique cocktail slant. Also fairly inexpensive.

                  If anyone ever makes it up to Canada (I'm in BC), Havana Club is available up here, as are some of the Japanese whiskeys, and the orancio.

                  I think the Havana Club 3 year works best for cocktails (it's my go to rum for mixing drinks), but for straight sipping, I'd agree with the above comments.

                  1. t
                    theregoesnorman RE: tokyopix Nov 8, 2011 08:02 AM

                    ...and a pic of the flaggpunsch. I beleieve it's usually kept with liqueurs.

                    1. barleywino RE: tokyopix Feb 10, 2012 04:00 PM

                      the domestic replica of Amer Picon, Amere Nouvelle, is now available. They've taken out the caramel color so it no longer looks like Amer Picon but the taste is quite similar. (Kronan's Swedish punsch is now also available domestically.)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: barleywino
                        Alcachofa RE: barleywino Feb 16, 2012 01:36 PM

                        I believe barleywino has first-hand experience as a booze mule.

                        1. re: Alcachofa
                          barleywino RE: Alcachofa Feb 16, 2012 02:52 PM

                          Those days are over, thanks to the TSA!

                      2. k
                        kathleen440 RE: tokyopix May 23, 2012 10:12 AM

                        I tried to find Amer Picon in France 5 months ago and no one had it! Oh well. I did come back with two little bottles of Chartreuse Elixir Vegetal, which is a GREAT find for anyone living in the States. It's about 10 euros a bottle in Paris, and I love using it as bitters.

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