Hanami Drinks For Spring
By Lisa Hong
The sun is out, and so are the picnickers. Hanami is all around you as you observe people sitting in parks and under blooming cherry blossom trees. Food is passed around, and drinks are served. As you view these daytime frolickers, you wonder, “Doesn’t anyone work?” And then, you see the lowly rookie salaryman who was sent out early to secure a good picnic spot for the rest of his co-workers. He is alone in the middle of a huge blue tarp hours before his colleagues get out. He looks like he could use a good drink!
Spring is fun, and the drinks should be, too. The following drink recipes can easily be made during a picnic with ingredients that can be picked up at any konbini. The most prep work you might have to do is dice up some fruit beforehand.
Plum wine is very sweet and almost syrupy. To tone down the texture and sweetness, add 2 parts plum wine, 1 part sparkling water, and splash of sake. Garnish with strawberries.
Have you ever had Japanese Melon Soda (brands that make this include Fanta and Ramune)? This is how I like to drink it: 2 parts melon soda, 1 part Sake, and a dash of Calpis to add creaminess.Photo by Domiriel
Haru no Sangria
At home, prepare a fruit salad (I like keeping to a “spring” orange-yellow-green theme: kiwi, green or yellow apple, orange, pineapple, melon, etc).
At the picnic, place the fruit salad in a bowl and pour in just enough Sake to cover the fruit. Leave for 30 minutes.
After the fruit has absorbed the Sake, pour 2 parts white wine and 1 part ginger ale (or 1 and 1 if you want it sweeter) in a cup and add in a scoop of the Sake-soaked fruit.
2 parts beer and 1 part Orangina. Add orange slices. Hec, splash some Sake in there if you want.
Overall, you can make any cocktail at your Hanami picnic with Japan’s array of fun beverages. Bonus points if falling Sakura petals land in your cup. Experiment, taste, enjoy – and maybe offer a drink to that salaryman alone on his company’s tarp!
What drink will YOU be making at your spring picnic?