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You might think of ice as only for drinks in the summer, but the Nihon Shokuryo Shinbun (The Japan Food Journal) reports that megabrewery Gekkeikan are releasing an “on the rocks” line of drinks that will be sold year-round.

On sale from September 2018, the three versions will be sold in 720 ml bottles with bright, summery labels.

The three varieties are:

  1. Kōrigenshu: As the name suggests, an undiluted genshu with no water added after pressing. It’s also an unpasteurised namazake, and as it’s expected to be served over ice the sake itself is a robust junmai with umami and depth that won’t be affected by added water as ice cubes melt. 17-18% abv.
  2. Samurai Rock: A liqueur (リキュール, the legal term for sake with anything added after the brewing process) made from sake and lime juice, with fresh aroma and acidity. 13% abv, ingredients sake, lime, sugar, acidifer, flavouring.
  3. Lemon Rock: Another liqueur, this time with lemon juice as the added ingredient. 13% abv, ingredients sake, lemon, sugar, acidifier, flavouring.

Scrolling down product pages on the Gekkeikan site, there are some suggestions for how to serve, mix or pair the two liqueurs. (And some funny photos of surprised employees.)

Samurai Rock

  • Mix 5:1 with vodka for a dry cocktail on the rocks
  • Mix 1:1 with tonic for a sake spin on gin and tonic with a sophisticated bitter flavour
  • Mix 4:1 with… coffee? If you know a lemon coffee [what??] this is the lime version
  • Pair with gyoza as the lime acidity will wash away any lingering oil

Lemon Rock

  • Mix 5:1 with gin for a winning combination of astringency and acidity
  • Mix 1:1 with beer, pouring the Lemon Rock in gently so as not to lose the bubbles
  • Mix 1:1 with milk for a yoghurt-like drink that goes well with a bit of honey
  • Pair with vanilla ice cream for a fresh and sophisticated taste like lemon cheesecake

I also found another variety in Japan Centre in London – Hannari (elegant) Rock with shiso! It’s the pink-orange one in the middle, priced at GBP £21.00.