The other day I had a craving for yuzu shu, a sweet and tangy liqueur made with (or from?) a citrus fruit called yuzu, so I humped over to Sakaba Kōji. (For instructions on how to make yuzu shu at home check out the Kyoto Foodie blog.)
The first time I tried yuzu shu was at another one of my favorite places to drink, Manten Shûraku.
Picky eater though I may be, there hasn't been a single thing that Manten has served me that I haven't liked. The same can be said about their selection of alcohol. I had never heard of Yamato Zakura--one of the very best imo shôchûs to have ever passed my lips and worthy of an entry all to itself (I'm getting to it)--until I had started patronizing Manten regularly and asked Kojima, the owner, what he drank.
Although yuzu is, like the mikan, a citrus fruit that is in season in winter, yuzu shu makes for a refreshing summer drink.
Now, the trouble with yuzu shu is trying to find one that's exceptional. Most of them are just okay.
The most common brand of yuzu shu that you're sure to come across is one produced by Kobayashi Shuzô of Hokkaidô. It's not bad, but it lacks something. It doesn't have the "Wow!" factor that my very first glass of yuzu shu had. (By the way, their mikan shu is pretty damn good. Highly recommended.)
When and if I ever find a bottle of that yuzu shu that I had at Manten I will review it here.
Anyways . . .
On my way home from the supermarket this evening, I popped into the Lawson's downstairs.
I've heard that my corner convenience store has the highest sales in the country. I'm not sure if that is gross sales or sales per tsubo (3.3 square meters). At any rate, I find this dubious as the two men who have been working there as long as I have been living in Daimyô hardly look as if they are made of money.
What I love about the Lawson's downstairs is that you never know what they're going to be selling. Oh sure, the same o-nigiri will always be there, but selection of snacks is always changing. It's as if the store serves as some kind of testing ground for new products and I am more than happy to act as a marketing guinea pig for them.
Today, they were selling the Kizakura Yuzu Shu High Ball. Unlike ordinary yuzu shu which is made with rice shôchû, this one was made with saké.
To make a long story short, it's light, slightly sweet and tart. Not bad. Not bad at all. My wife, who's no drinker, liked it. And there's the rub: I want a drink to knock my socks off. My feet, I'm afraid, remain socked. For those not used to marinating their livers with copious amounts of alcohol, I recommend Kizakura's drink. For everyone else, stay tuned!
Kizakura Yuzu High Ball
Kizakura Yuzu Shu High Ball (黄桜ゆず酒ハイボール)