Extra! Extra! Drink all about it!

Fruit-flavored canned cocktails have long enjoyed popularity in Japan, with the Strong Zero brand as the standard bearer for the high-alcohol, low-cost subsection of the alcopop market. But now we have an unexpected new contender in the alcopop market: Japanese news outlet Tokyo Sports or “Tospo” for short.

It isn’t exactly clear why a major tabloid decided to release Tospo Kyogaku Lemon Sour, but they did previously come out with Tospo Gyoza and Tospo Dynamite Organ Meat, so maybe this is just something to wash that all down with.

The brand of this drink isn’t the only remarkable thing either. Tospo Kyogoku Lemon Sour boasts and alcohol content of 13 percent, which might be a record for a drink of this kind in Japan. Our Japanese-language writer Ahiruneko, who often covers beverages, recalls the only other drink to come close was the Sangaria Super Strong 12 Lemon, which was sold at Lawson Poplar stores in 2018.

▼ Sangaria Super Strong 12 Lemon

Most other canned lemon sours contain about five percent alcohol and even Strong Zero only goes up to nine percent. Tospo Kyogoku Lemon Sour is indeed on a whole other level, but its can read, “This is nuts! It’s all good though, so give it a try?” Ahiruneko decided to accept their offer and bought a can for 248 yen (US$1.76).

Although he often reviews alcoholic drinks, Ahiruneko doesn’t really fancy himself a hard drinker, so 13 percent was rather intimidating. Nevertheless, he cracked it open and took a swig.

▼ Ahiruneko: “Glug… glug…”

▼ Ahiruneko: “Ouch…”

In general, Japanese lemon sours have been leaning more towards the dryness of the vodka than the fruitiness of the lemon juice, but Tospo Kyogoku Lemon Sour pretty much just said to hell with sweetness altogether and smacked Ahiruneko in the face with a bitter sensation.

To say it packs a punch is putting it mildly, Ahiruneko felt it was more like a guy who’s constantly winding up to punch you just to see you flinch, but only actually takes a swing sometimes. In other words, it felt more like a constantly intimidating force than an occasional shot in the arm.

And it seems like Tospo Kyogoku Lemon Sour anticipated reactions like Ahiruneko’s because on the very verbose can they also wrote, “It’s irresistible on the rocks!” So, that’s just what he did.

Drinking it this way was far more palatable for our writer. However, after a few sips he started to realize that by watering it down, he was basically just drinking Strong Zero.

There’s wasn’t anything wrong with that, but it made him wonder what the point of this product is in the first place. He then thought that since the alcohol content of this drink was on the level of wine or sake, maybe it’s better enjoyed like those drinks instead.

Pouring some into a sake glass proved to be a happy medium. Taking casual sips of Tospo Kyogoku Lemon Sour was far more enjoyable than chugging it from a can. It’s something to consider if you decide to try some yourself, but get some fast because while interesting, this probably isn’t the future of lemon sours in Japan.

Photos © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]