After a year’s delay and much uncertianty, the Tokyo Olympics – beginning this Friday (23 July) in the Japanese capital – are finally upon us. Alcohol brands and retailers are getting into the spirit with launches inspired by the flavours and traditions of Japan
Lidl Japanese Cherry Blossom Gin
Launched as part of its Hortus Gin Festival earlier this month, Lidl’s new World Botanicals gin collection features a Japanese Cherry Blossom Gin (rsp: £17.99/70cl). The 40.3% abv spirit promises “delicate hints” of yuzu, sancho peppers and cherry blossom, which have been sourced from Japan. The discounter says the botanicals create a “bright, citrus-led gin with a rich, floral character”.
Tia Maria Matcha
Branching out from its signature coffee liqueur for the first time, Tia Maria is launching a Matcha variant into Tesco from 30 August (rsp: £16/700ml). Extracts of Japanese matcha tea give the 17% abv drink a “floral and refreshing” flavour, as well as a subtle green colour. The brand has created a perfect serve for the drink – including chilling the glass and dusting the rim in matcha powder – which it hopes will echo the matcha tea rituals of Japan.
Aldi Sawanotsuru Saké
As the national drink of Japan, saké is an ideal choice of tipple for consumers tuning in to the games. Aldi is introducing its own version of the traditional rice wine, produced in the famous saké region of Nada-Ku, Kobe, on 22 July. The “refreshing, clean and delicate” Sawanotsuru Saké (rsp: £4.99/30cl) is said to pair perfectly with Asian foods such as sushi, as well as British classics like fish & chips.
The retailer is also set to add a Japanese Whisky to its Christmas collection, landing in stores on 6 September (rsp: TBC). Finished in mizunara casks, the spirit promises notes of orange, ginger, dried apricot, cinnamon, fudge, nuts and vanilla.
Tarquin’s Yuzu & Lime Gin
Cornish distiller Tarquin’s is leaning into Asian botanicals for its latest limited edition tipple, a Yuzu & Lime Gin (rsp: £36/70cl). Launching on the brand’s website from 12 August, the drink features notes of wild pomelo, cherry blossom and candied lime on the nose, flavours of zesty yuzu, orange blossom and soft juniper and a finish of lime sorbet, eastern spice and fresh tangerine.
Shoryu DIY cocktail kits
Ramen restaurant chain Shoryu is offering DIY cocktail kits to cater for consumers’ at-home Olympics viewing parties. First launched earlier this year, the kits have now been made available as larger bundles – including a selection of Japanese food – especially for the games. The five cocktails on offer include a Mocha Sakétini – a Japanese twist on the Espresso Martini – and a rum and saké-based Dirty Lychee (rsp: £15 to £25/300ml to 500ml). The are available to buy online from Japan Centre, which will be screening the Olympics at all of its London locations.