Drinking method is beautiful to look at–and could help mask the taste of burning alcohol.

First, let me get this off my chest: I hate shochu. I can’t stand the stuff. A distilled Japanese beverage containing typically 25 percent alcohol by volume (comparing roughly to Chinese shaojiu/baijiu and Korean soju), it burns my throat in a way completely unlike Japanese sake (rice wine, called nihonshu in Japanese), which goes down very smoothly. Consequently, I have profound respect for anyone who can toss back cup after cup of shochu like it was nothing.

Despite my distaste, I’m always open to trying new things, and a recent tweet by user @otomania_net has certainly piqued my interest. In his post, he shares his discovery of a particular way of drinking shochu known as “the goldfish,” or “kingyo” in Japanese:

“Today I learned a way of drinking shochu called ‘the goldfish’ for the first time. Dilute a glass of shochu containing a leaf or two of shiso [Japanese basil] and sliced chili pepper [capsicum] with hot water. The shiso looks like an underwater plant and the pieces of pepper like goldfish. The refreshing scent of the shiso coupled with the sharp taste of the pepper is a sophisticated, practical way of drinking it that warms your body. This style seems to be quite famous in the Kanto region [eastern part of Japan surrounding the Tokyo area].” 

Phew! For a minute there, I thought that real goldfish were going to be involved.

The finished glass certainly creates an aesthetically pleasing scene, almost as if it were transformed into a mini aquarium. Net users were intrigued by it as well, leaving comments such as the following: 

 “It’s so stylish! I think it resembles a mojito.”
“I used to occasionally see this drinking style at some bars in Osaka, too.”
“So my eyes aren’t great and I looked at the picture before reading any of the text. My first reaction was, ‘Whoah, why are there ladybugs swimming around in that drink?!’ Sorry…”
“I’ve also heard that adding carbonated water makes it good.”
“It seems like it would work well with Japanese sake too.”

Seeing as I don’t live near any shops that carry shochu, I’d be curious if someone else wanted to try out “the goldfish” and report back. If the presentation and added flavor could mask the alcohol’s usual taste, this could be a big development, indeed!

Source, featured image: Twitter/@otomania_net