What is a chew hi?

Answered by Brandon Riddell

Chu-hi, short for “shochu highball,” is a popular cocktail that has gained widespread recognition both within Japan and internationally. It is a refreshing and fruity drink that typically consists of a fruit , most commonly lemon, mixed with shochu, a traditional Japanese distilled spirit, and club .

The origins of chu-hi can be traced back to the 1980s when it first gained popularity among young adults in Japan. It was initially served in bars and izakayas, which are traditional Japanese gastropubs. However, chu-hi truly became a phenomenon with the introduction of canned chu-hi, which revolutionized the way people consume this cocktail.

Canned chu-hi became a game-changer as it made chu-hi more accessible and convenient. It allowed people to enjoy their favorite cocktail on the go, at parties, or even in the comfort of their own homes. The popularity of canned chu-hi skyrocketed, and it became a staple in convenience stores, supermarkets, and vending machines across Japan.

One of the key ingredients in chu-hi is shochu, which is a versatile and diverse spirit made from various ingredients such as rice, barley, sweet potatoes, or buckwheat. Shochu has a lower content compared to other like or , typically ranging from 25% to 45%. This makes it a milder and more approachable choice for those who prefer a lighter alcoholic beverage.

The fruit juice used in chu-hi can vary, but lemon is the most common and traditional flavor. Lemon juice adds a bright and tangy element to the cocktail, balancing the alcohol and giving it a refreshing quality. However, nowadays, chu-hi comes in a wide range of flavors, including grapefruit, peach, strawberry, and even more exotic options like yuzu or lychee. These different fruit flavors offer a variety of taste experiences, appealing to different palates and preferences.

Club soda is the final component that brings effervescence and bubbles to chu-hi. It adds a crisp and lively texture, making the cocktail even more refreshing. The amount of club soda used can be adjusted depending on personal preference. Some prefer a lighter and fizzier chu-hi, while others may prefer a stronger and more concentrated flavor profile.

Chu-hi has become deeply ingrained in Japanese drinking culture and is often associated with casual socializing and outdoor events. It is commonly enjoyed during picnics, barbecues, and beach parties, where the fruity and refreshing nature of chu-hi perfectly complements the relaxed and festive atmosphere.

As a sommelier and brewer, I have had the pleasure of exploring different chu-hi flavors during my visits to Japan. I vividly remember sitting in an izakaya in Tokyo, sipping on a chilled grapefruit chu-hi while enjoying delicious yakitori skewers. The combination of the tangy grapefruit and the smoky flavors of the grilled meat was truly delightful.

Chu-hi is a popular Japanese cocktail that combines fruit juice, shochu, and club soda. It originated in bars and izakayas but gained widespread popularity with the introduction of canned chu-hi. The use of different fruit flavors and the convenience of canned chu-hi have made it a beloved drink in Japan. Its refreshing nature and versatility make chu-hi a perfect choice for casual socializing and outdoor gatherings.