Mizuwari – Japanese whisky, the perfect summer drink.

Jun 8th, 2010

For a lot of people whisky isn’t a summer drink. Generally being relegated to the back of the booze cupboard like a football team that gets a second chance every winter.

Well in Japan they’ve got it right. For many Japanese people whisky is a refreshing summers drink, it just requires a small tweak. Now before some of you baulk at the idea of adulterating your dram just hear me out!

Mizuwari, which is essentially just water, ice and whisky (Mizu means “water” and wari means “to cut”) is the most common way to enjoy whisky in Japan.  This seems very simple, but Japanese bartenders put as much thought and preparation into a mizuwari as you might a Manhattan or gin martini.  They almost compete, trying to find the perfect combination of whisky, water and ice.

The top bartenders create hand carve spheres of ice for each drink or you can buy gadgets like the one in the youtube video below or you can get an ice mold from Muji (they work really well).

Yuri Kato’s Mizuwari

How do you make a Mizuwari?

It’s really easy to do and I’ll be shooting a 1min video podcast on it this week (You can find me by searching The Whisky Guy in the iTunes store), but in the mean time here’s my preferred recipe:

  • Start with good size glass (I use a Bruichladdich tulip shape tumbler as the Muji ice ball fits perfectly!),
  • Add some large ice cubes made of frozen mineral water or an ice ball,
  • Take 2 drams/measures of Japanese whisky and pour it over the ice, (Suntory Hibiki is good or for something fuller try one of the bottlings from Number One Drinks),
  • Then 1 measure mineral water and stir approx. 10- 15 times,
  • Finally sit back enjoy the sun and a refreshing drink.

Tasting notes for the new Japanese bottlings coming soon…

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