Drinking green tea has taken over as a part of the Japanese lifestyle since ancient years.
Japanese green tea has been getting incorporated due to its mysterious taste and aroma but also its health benefits worldwide.
Not only enjoy drinking tea, the traditional tea ceremony, “Sado”(茶道) that has been sublimated into the culture, attracts connoisseurs as the Japanese “Zen” experience.
In this way, the Japanese and green tea has related deeply, of course, there is no reason to not create “green tea cocktails.”
It is easy to get Japanese green tea worldwide today, so
I am going to tell you cocktails used “Green tea” without “green tea flavor Liquor” products.
- The Types Of Green Tea In Japan
- What’s Ocha-Wari?
- Ryokucha Hi; The Common Green Tea Cocktail In Japan
- The Next Trend In Japan? Macha-Hi
The Types Of Green Tea In Japan
The tea called “Green tea” in Japan is a generic term and has a variety of types categorized by its manufacturing process and cultivation.
I dived in the detail of types in this article, so you can read it later if you have time.
In this post, I will introduce major Green tea briefly.
- “Sencha” (煎茶) green tea is the most consumed tea in Japan, 75% of tea products are “Sencha” green tea.
- Relatively reasonable price, well-balanced umami and astringency taste
- To use a few genuine tips, you can make 10 times tasty “Sencha” green tea at home. If you are interested in how to make a good sencha tea, read here.
- It is also categorized in Japanese green tea and may more popular than Sencha tea to international people as one of Japanese aesthetic.
- The most famous place for high-quality matcha is the Uji area, Kyoto, but matcha and matcha sweets lovers have a hidden utopia in Aichi prefecture.
- Hojicha is roasted green tea leaves over high heat.
- Generally, low-grade sencha or bancha are used for Hojicha.
- Toasty, nutty flavor and rich aroma. Preferred for after-meal tea because Hojicha has a refreshing effect.
In the Japanese drink culture, we make “green tea cocktails” with those green tea that I explained above.
“Ocha-wari”(お茶割り)– the general term that a cocktail mixed with spirits and tea in Japanese.
Ocha refers to the entire of tea products includes Chinese and British. So, keep in your mind that Ocha-wari doesn’t refer to a cocktail that uses Japanese green tea only.
Japanese shochu, vodka, and the distilled liquor called “white liquor” in Japan are commonly used for Ocha-wari.
Therefore, interestingly, you will be asked how you like to drink Shochu at Izakayas in Japan, such as “straight”, “on the rock”, “with water”, “with boiled water”, and “with green tea”.
So, let’s look at common Ocha-wari cocktails used in Japanese green tea.
Ryokucha Hi; The Common Green Tea Cocktail In Japan
“Ryokucya Hi”(緑茶ハイ) can be as popular as oolong tea-Hi Izakaya green tea cocktail.
“Ryoku-cha” literally refers to “green tea”.
Despite it is called “Ryokucha-Hi” which sounds like Chu-Hi, it is not fizzy and not sweet. It is just mixed with Shochu and a Sencha tea.
To be precise, it should be called “Sencha-Hi”, but as I said earlier, Sencha is a daily green tea, so “Ryokucha” often means Sencha.
The people who care about weight-loss support Ryokucha-Hi, which is believed “less sugar”, “low calorie” alcohol drink.
Japanese Shochu Can Make The Authentic Ryokucha-Hi
Shochu (Japanese vodka ) which is low in sugar, and a green tea is expected its effect of increasing glucose in the blood and helping to break down alcohol.
If you want to try “Ryokucha-Hi” at home, you can make it with vodka and cold Japanese sencha tea. Besides, get Japanese shochu from a local liquor shop if you are looking for an authentic taste.
Especially for Shochu beginners, “Mugi Jochu” that the raw material is barley is a good start for “Ryokucha-Hi”.
The dry and refreshing taste of Mugijochu (Jochu=shochu) is easy to drink and does not go against the refreshing taste of sencha. On the contrary, “Imo Shochu” has a strong unique flavor, so it is suitable for shochu lovers.
(Iichiko is a Mugi Jochu that I often see in my local shop, and Kuroyokaichi is an Imo Jochu that I can find online.)
How To Make “Ryokucha-Hi”
Fill plenty of ice in a glass, add Mugi Jochu of your desired amount, pour green tea, and stir to complete a delicious Ryokucha Hi.
For a better result, brew Sencha tea deeply, however, you need to follow certain tips to brew strong Sencha flavor suppressing astringency. Instant Sencha powder can help you to adjust flavor easily.
Basically, “Ocha-wari” cocktails are not sweeten as I mentioned. Add syrup if needed.
Itoen Instant green tea powder is ideal for making even iced green tea in seconds also has a vivid color, Umami, and pleasant astringency flavors.
Make Sencha tea first. (Put 1 or 2 tsp instant green tea powder), then fill ice and your preferred amount of Shochu in a glass and add premade green tea.
Moreover, a bottle of Sencha tea is faster and easier, “Koi-cha” (means “a strong tea”) has a stronger green tea flavor, so it is one of an option. (by the way, it is further from the authentic Ryokucha-Hi when using Arizona tea instead of Japanese green tea.)
Substitutes Of Japanese Shochu
Shochu, but some people are not accustomed to the unique flavor of shochu like my husband. (To me, his favorite gin has a strong flavor than Shochu though.)
Vodka instead of Shochu can make sense-it’s the same distilled liquor and easy to get.
However, the alcohol content of vodka is as high as 40%, so the recommended ratio is vodka: Sencha tea = 1: 3.
I prefer to add carbonated water because I like the feeling.
Sencha goes well with whiskey and has a very elegant taste.
Japanese whisky is better, but it’s not so friendly price, so I recommend Canadian whiskey or Irish whiskey.
Adjust the ratio to your liking and find the amount you can drink deliciously.
Adding fresh lemon juice, mint leaves, and syrup, if needed.
“Umeshu” Japanese Plam Wine-Base
“Umeshu” is a Japanese plum liqueur. Fresh Japanese plums are steeped in distilled liquor with sugar. The rich, sweet, and aromatic taste is very attractive.
Umeshu and Sencha tea, both are Japanese, how come it goes bad?
Mix Umeshu and Sencha tea with the same ratio.
The Next Trend In Japan? Macha-Hi
“Matcha Wari”(抹茶割り) has been gradually trending in Japan.
There are many stylish bars and Izakayas throughout Japan that offer their special “Matcha-wari” cocktails. To follow up the new trend after “Lemon Sour”, major alcohol beverage companies produce new items of canned “Macha-wari” drinks in recent years.
The charm of Matcha-Wari aka Matcha-Hi is its vivid green color and refreshing, Umami, astringency taste. Want to grade up a classic cocktail with “Ceremonial Grade Matcha”?
How To Dissolve Matcha Powder Without Clumps
Here is the problem to start making Matcha-Hi. How to dissolve Matcha powder easily at home?
Technically, authentic ceremonial grade Matcha which is milled tea leaves will never dissolve in a liquid. This is why we use a whisk and combine Matcha tea and water well.
But, you don’t need a Matcha ceremony kit just for making a Matcha cocktail because there is a good way to go!
Simply, mix with your favorite distilled spirits and Matcha green tea.
Alcohol has almost no surface tension so Matcha powder which milled well will hardly make clumps.
Another Easy Way
If you like sweet Matcha powder, it is not stick-packages but here’s already sweetened Match powder, dissolve easily. “Itoen” is a Japanese major tea product company so fine quality of taste.
Try Making Matcha In The Authentic Way
If you want to entertain guests by making a Matcha-wari cocktail in the traditional way, here are is steps.
- Sift 2 matcha spoon (about 1/2 teaspoon) of Matcha powder into a tea bowl.
- Add hot water at 80-90 ℃/ 26 – 32 F until about 1/4 -1/5 of a tea bowl.
- Use the whisk to mix the matcha on the bottom, then lift it a little from the bottom of the bowl and move the wrist back and forth to mix while drawing the number “1”. *First slowly and then quickly whisk before hot water gets cold.
So, let’s check out the next page about “How To Make Matcha-Wari Classic Cocktails.”