Suntory Akadama Sweet Wine Soda /サントリー 赤玉スイートワインソーダ

Alcohol: 3% (7.5 ml)
Quantity: 250 ml
Sugar: 20.25 g
Calories: 132.5 kcal
Price: MSRP 227 yen
Official Site: http://www.suntory.co.jp/wine/original/akadama/index.html

Cute mini-can! Akadama is a sweet wine made by Suntory, available in white and red versions. It’s Japan’s version of mulled wine (Glühwein), though many drink Akadama at room temperature or chilled. (Tons of wines here are served chilled. I suspect it’s because chilling cheap wines makes them taste less bad – the opposite of cheap sake/nihonshu.) This new RTD beverage mixes the sweet red wine with soda water, resulting in an moderately-carbonated, instant sweet cocktail to appeal to female drinkers. Akadama is a sweet wine, so you should know what you’re getting into here, but just to make sure, this is an extremely sweet beverage. Those seeking milder or more tart chuuhai should seek elsewhere.

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Triangle Ginger Highball / トライアングルギンジャーハイボール

Alcohol: 5% (17.5 ml)
Quantity: 350 ml
Sugar: 8.4 g
Calories: 136.5 kcal
Price: 129 yen at Kakuyasu
Official Site: http://www.sapporobeer.jp/shochu/triangle/gingerhighballcan/index.html

Sapporo Beer is mainly a beer company (shockingly!) but they also make Triangle, a popular shouchuu. Sapporo Beer hasn’t dived into the chuuhai market, but they have been selling this product for at least a year – a ginger flavored-highball made from “ginger spirits”, which I interpret as either a combination of ginger and shouchuu or ginger-infused shouchuu.  This Triangle Ginger Highball deliveries a very sharp, gingery taste. It has bite, but the sharpness isn’t too extreme on the palate. It’s a improvement on the Torys Ginger Highball.

 

Asahi Premium Cocktail Partner Special Luxury Cocktail White Wine X Grapefruit / アサヒカクテルパートナー こだわりの贅沢カクテル 白ワインxグレープフルーツ

Alcohol: 3% (10.5 ml)
Quantity: 350 ml bottle-shaped can
Calories: 168 kcal
Sugar: 24.15 g
Price: MSRP 189 yen (convenience store exclusive!)
Official Site: http://www.asahibeer.co.jp/products/sour/cocktailpartner/

Asahi just put out this chuuhai just for the convenience stores. It comes in an aluminum can in the shape of a bottle. Going by the design on the cover, I chose to pour it into a champagne glass instead of my usual highball glass. The unusual shape of this chuuhai isn’t its only selling point – it boosts 40% grapefruit juice by volume. I should have realized the implications of that fact before I tasted the liquid; I was floored by the bitterness. Although there is a plenty of sugar present in this chuuhai, with 40% grapefruit juice the grapefruit completely overpowers every other taste. If you’re a lover of grapefruit juice this is easy to recommend, but I’ll be staying away. I quite enjoy grapefruit-flavored chuuhai, but I think I’ll stay clear of grapefruit chuuhai.

Horoyoi Suntory Apple / ほろよい サントリー りんご

Alcohol: 3% (10.5 ml)
Quantity: 350 ml
Sugar: 33.95 g
Calories: 199.5 kcal
Price: MSRP 141 yen
Official Site: www.suntory.co.jp/rtd/horoyoi/

I’m not sure why, but the apple and peach horoyoi flavors have been more difficult to find. This tastes just like mild and fizzy apple cider, so mild there’s no trace of alcohol.

Sangaria Chuuhai Feeling Sicily Lemon / サンガリアチューハイ気分レモン シチリア産

Alcohol: 6% (21 ml)
Quantity: 350 ml
Sugar:  1.4 g
Calories: 129.5 kcal
Price: 92 yen at Kakuyasu
Official Site: http://www.sangaria.co.jp/products/alcohol/chuhi-kibun/

To me, Sangaria has always seemed like a second-tier beverage company. Their website just isn’t as professional and clean as the big three – Asahi, Kirin, and Suntory. They have much worse distribution of their products: they’re much harder to find. And the price and quality of their drinks are cheaper.

Sangaria Kibun Lemon has a low taste. At 6% alcohol, one ought to be able to detect the alcohol, but so much artificial sweeteners are used, one can’t notice it – in fact, this chuuhai tastes very sweet and mild. I wonder if this would be the kind of alcopop that is decried by those accuse alcohol companies of marketing to kids.

 

 

Kirin Fragrant True Deep Yuzu Plum Wine (Soda-mixed) /キリン香りまっこい梅酒(ソーダ割り) ゆず仕立て

Alcohol: 4% (14 ml)
Quantity: 350 ml
Sugar:  33.95g
Calories: 217 kcal
Price: 129 yen at Kakuyasu
Official Site: http://www.kirin.co.jp/brands/sw/maccoi/index.html

This yuzu version of Kirin Makkoi (umeshu base) also tastes mild, but the yuzu’s influence gives the liquid a sweet and sour flavor. I like the fusion of ume and yuzu, though the sugary aftertaste of umeshu is present.

 

 

Kirin Frozen Chuuhai Strong Ripe Grapefruit /キリン氷結チューハイストロング完熟グレープフルーツ

Alcohol: 8% (28 ml)
Quantity: 350 ml
Sugar:  1.4-4.2 g
Calories: 175 kcal
Price: MSRP 148 yen (124 at Kakuyasu)
Official Site: http://www.kirin.co.jp/brands/hyoketsu/index.html

Using acesulfame potassium as an artificial sweetener, Kirin’s strong grapefruit doesn’t taste bitter at all. If anything, this chuuhai tastes like grapefruit-flavored water, and is sweeter than Suntory’s Strong -196 version.