Okinawa, the tropical island at the southern end of Japan, is known for its unique culture and tasty foods like soki soba (Okinawa noodles) and rafuti (sweet stewed pork). Another local specialty Okinawa is famous for is the alcoholic drink awamori, a distilled drink made from long-grain rice.

While the beverage has its fans across Japan, it also has enough of a distinct flavor that some people consider it a bit of an acquired taste.  So you can imagine it came as somewhat of a surprise when we found out that they sell an alcoholic coffee drink in Okinawa that is infused with awamori, and at a convenience store chain, no less. We definitely had to try this!

The drink, called awamori coffee, is sold at the Family Mart convenience chain in Okinawa, and according to information gathered by our Japanese reporter, the concept of an awamori-infused beverage started back in 2008. It was apparently quite a difficult product to develop but eventually became an established gourmet drink in Okinawa, and since then has been made into a readily accessible beverage by Family Mart.

▼ To try the awamori coffee, our reporter made his way to a FamilyMart in Okinawa.


▼ Sure enough, we found the drink in the alcoholic beverage section!


▼ Here it is, the awamori coffee! We have to say, we didn’t expect it to come in such a chic and pop looking package. At first glance, it looks like a nice regular coffee drink, and it even has pretty tropical hibiscus flowers illustrated on the plastic container.


▼ As we were anxious to try it, we bought the drink for 258 yen (US$2.15). As you can see, the top of the lid is transparent, making the drink inside visible.


Now, in all honesty, while our reporter doesn’t hate awamori, he isn’t exactly a fan either, so he was unsure how he would feel about this unique cocktail-like coffee creation. Will the beverage live up to its reputation?

It turns out that after taking one drink, our reporter found the awamori coffee amazingly pleasant. The aroma and initial flavor were that of coffee, with just a lingering flavor of the awamori that passes through your nose in the end.

▼ The drink itself is indistinguishable from regular coffee in appearance.


Usually, awamori has a strong flavor that our reporter can’t help but notice, but in this case, he says it all went down surprisingly smoothly. In fact, he enjoyed the drink so much, he ended up finishing it quite quickly. He even says that FamilyMart seriously should sell the beverage across Japan and not just in Okinawa.

▼ The drink still has an alcohol content of 12%, so it’s no weak cocktail!


We have to say, we never expected awamori to mix so well with coffee, and it was somewhat of a revelation to our reporter. If you do come across the drink in Okinawa, though, you may want to be careful of drinking too much of it too quickly, as it really does contain 12% alcohol, regardless of how smooth it may taste.

Oh, and to the folks at FamilyMart, we hope you’ll consider selling the beverage outside of Okinawa, as we think it’s a pity to keep such an enjoyable drink in just one prefecture!

Reference: Okinawa FamilyMart
Photos ©RocketNews24
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