My research for “Drinking Japan” took more than a year and a half and took me all over the country. It is the first wide-ranging survey in English of the history and culture of Japanese alcohol, with detailed coverage not only of the well-known rice brew sake but of much less explored traditions like shochu, awamori, beer, wine, and Japanese whisky.
First and foremost is a practical guide, offering richly illustrated reviews of my favorite 122 bars. The reviews are written with the newly arrived visitor to Japan in mind, with detailed price guides, language help, advice on food and drink choices, and maps and directions to get you to the bars. But the reviews try to go a little further than that, featuring interviews with bar tenders and background information on the drinks I tried at their establishments that I hope deepens the insights offered by the detailed introductions at the start of each chapter.
There is a long chapter on the history of sake and the contemporary sake world, and the first extensive descriptions in an English-language book of Japan’s indigenous spirits, shochu and awamori. Whole chapters are devoted to Japan’s whisky, craft beer and wine industries, offering insights that have until now not been available to readers in English.
Drinkingjapan.com will offer updates on the guide, information about changes to bars (please contact me at christopherbunting at gmail.com if you have an update), and more detailed referencing to the sources I used in writing the guide that I hope will be of use to other researchers.
Drinkingjapan.com is a sister site to Nonjatta.com, the most comprehensive source on Japanese single-malt whisky for English speakers.