Japan With Kids - A Warming Winter Drink (Adults Only)
Researched and photographed by Cornelia [2 February 2012]

I went to my old favorite izakaya and one of the regulars was drinking something that resembled a goldfish in a fishbowl! Sure enough when I asked about it he told me that it is called Kingyo. If you have not yet seen the game played at almost any festival in Japan called kingyo sukui, you undoubtedly will at the next festival that you go to. The object is to catch little gold fish with a paper scoop, before the paper breaks in the water. Here is a description and pictures of that!

Well, of course I had to try this new cocktail, new to me anyway.
My acquaintance told me that he thought it originated in Kyushu, but then again maybe not. It's simple to make. First you put a green shiso leaf and a dried spicey red pepper in a clear glass. Then you fill up as far as you like with Shochu. Finally you add boiling water to the top. Let it sit a few minutes, to cool and also to let the red pepper and the shiso steep a bit.

This drink rocks! Put your refills in the same glass with the same shiso leaf and pepper!

"Shochu" is the Japanese version of vodka.
"Shiso" (Perilla frutescens) can be translated as Beefsteak plant, Perilla Mint, Chinese Basil, etc., and in Japan comes in green or purple (akajiso).
"Izakaya" is a neighborhood drinking hole with plenty of food served up in portions smaller than a full meal (not just a bar).

Related links and information:

Japan With Kids - Making Japanese Plum Syrup and Umeshu (Plum Liqueur)

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