Japan’s most popular sake brand teams up with its most popular domestic burger chain for a dessert drink like no other.

Japan’s most popular domestic hamburger chain, Mos Burger, serves milk shakes, and in addition to worldwide standards like vanilla and strawberry, they’ve also got a green tea one. Right now though, Mos is offering a shake flavor that’s even more Japanese than matcha, with its brand-new Dassai Milkshake.

A tie-up between Mos and the Dassai sake brand from Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, the new shake went on sale December 26, so I decided to give myself a day-after-Christmas gift and pick one up.

▼ There was even a flag advertising the new treat posted at the entrance.

▼ The Dassai Shake, priced at 334 yen (US$3.20) for a small (pictured here) or 399 yen for a medium, will be on sale until early February.

Now, I’ve confirmed for myself (multiple times, for the sake of thorough research) that Dassai sake is delicious, but at first I wasn’t all that sold on the idea of using it as a shake flavor. However, a key point is that the Dassai Milkshake is made with amazake, a fermented, but non-alcoholic version of sake that’s sweeter and creamier in texture than regular sake.

For the shake, Dassai brewer Asahi Shuzo made a special amazake sauce with kome koji (rice malt) which forms the lower stratum of the drink. The top layer is vanilla, and even before taking off the cup’s decorative sleeve, you can see that the top and bottom are different colors and textures.

▼ Removing the sleeve reveals that Mos and Dassai decided to go with an uneven ratio of vanilla and amazake.

Since it’s a shake, you’re obviously supposed to drink it with a straw. You also get a spoon, though, because the suggested way to drink the Dassai Milkshake is to first mix everything together so you get a uniform flavor.

However, it’s a well-known fact that if you give someone both ice cream and a spoon, their first instinct will be to take a bite of ice cream, and that’s exactly what I did.

▼ The shake’s vanilla ice cream is as rich and tasty as you’d expect.

Next, without mixing the shake, I stabbed the straw down all the way down to the bottom and took a sip.

Since the shake is luxuriously thick, for the first few moments all I got was air, followed by a stream of vanilla ice cream that had been impacted in the straw. But then came the sudden, intense rush of sake.

Ordinarily, amazake has a bit of tartness to it, almost like a yogurt-based drink, but the Dassai Shake’s amazake has none of those sour elements. Instead, it’s a delicious mixture of the rice and slightly fruity notes that have made Dassai’s sake so widely loved. I’d go so far as to say the flavor is going to be even more pleasing to fans of Dassai sake than amazake in general.

Next, it was time to follow the rules and actually mix everything together. After a few stirs with the spoon, I had a uniform mixture, and was ready to experience the true, intended flavor of the Dassai Milkshake.

The flavor of the two layers combine as seamlessly as their appearance, giving you a creamy and complex taste that stimulates all sorts of different taste receptors, yet never shocks or overloads them. In that sense, it’s very similar to Dassai sake, which owes its broad popularity to being mellow yet flavorful, with no harsh or discordant parts to its flavor profile. It’s basically the dessert drink equivalent of a fascinating conversation with a friend who’s engaging and outgoing, and always has something interesting to say.

As for which way is best to drink it, I’d recommend trying both by taking at least a few sips of the shake unstirred in order to enjoy the full force of the amazake, then stirring it up to enjoy the blended flavor until you empty the cup…and then going back and getting another and drinking the whole thing in whichever way you like best, since this is a flavor you’re unlikely to get tired of anytime soon.

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