Japan is a fascinating and beautiful country with stunning scenery and aesthetics and a highly efficient culture. Japan’s culinary culture is world-renowned for its high quality, high-tech methodology, and gorgeous presentation.
Not only will you find the freshest fish for sushi and sashimi, but you’ll also find a rich drinking culture to pair with it.
While you might associate Japanese drinks with sake, matcha, and whisky, Japanese gin is a lesser-known treasure trove. Read on to discover the best brands of Japanese gin.
Suntory Roku Gin
From the most famous Japanese spirits company, The House of Suntory, Suntory Roku Gin consists of 14 different traditional Japanese botanical ingredients.
Each ingredient is harvested at the peak of its seasonality, so you can taste each one at the height of its flavor, even in a mixed drink!
Roku gin is thus a highly complex and perfectly balanced gin, distilled using a vacuum. I perceived a strong yuzu palate with a spicy, peppery finish.
Nikka Coffey Gin
Nikka has been a longstanding producer of whiskey and malt, introducing Japanese vodka and gin to wide acclaim in the 1960s. Nikka Coffee Gin features 11 Japanese botanicals, including four citrus fruits, apples, lemon, and juniper berries.
Nikka Coffey gin has a bright and refreshing palate of tangy citrus, sweet apples, and a spicy finish of Sansho pepper.
Ki No Tea
Ki No Tea is a unique distillery out of Kyoto that partners with a historic tea purveyor who harvests and provides a unique blend of botanicals for their award-winning gin.
Ki No Tea gin has a foundation of juniper and two other botanicals called orris and akamatsu, layering citrus, spicy peppers and herbs, and a final aromatic layer of ginger.
Etsu Pacific Ocean Gin
As its name implies, Etsu is a Japanese distillery overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the northern island of Hokkaido. Etsu Pacific Ocean Gin uses fresh spring water and ocean water to elaborate their smooth and flavorful gin.
Some other unique ingredients include licorice root, angelica, and coriander. The palate offers a medicinal flavor mixed with citrus from the yuzu. The finish is delicate and smooth.
Sakurao Original Gin
Winning the gold medal in various international competitions, including the world gin awards, Sakurao Original Gin is a London Dry gin variety using a 100-year-old recipe.
Their original gin has a myriad of different aromas and flavors, from citrus to Japanese cypress and oyster shells. Perhaps the most notable ingredient is the Japanese cherry blossom.
You'll get a delicate citrus flavor with a characteristically dry finish.
135 East Gin Dry Hyogo
135 East Gin is a product of the Akashi Sake brewery and Kaikyo distillery. It's an artisanal gin that combines Eastern and Western distilling customs.
The Hyogo dry gin combines over 50 botanicals from both the East and West, using a vacuum distillation method to extract the essence of each ingredient. I've never tasted a more complex dry gin.
Yuzugin Japanese Gin
Yuzugin is an artisanal gin distiller that's been a pillar and pioneer of the Japanese gin industry since 1834. They produce a unique Japanese gin with a sweet potato shochu base.
As a result, Yuzugin Japanese Gin has a sweet and silky palate with spicy notes of sansho pepper and citrus from the yuzu.
Japanese gin offers a unique and exotic flavor profile for Western palates, featuring local botanicals and advanced methods for extracting their flavors.
After sipping your way through my list, I’d love to hear your opinions on the different Japanese gins I’ve listed in the comments below.
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings