Tony Alexander over in Yokohama presents something to keep you cool in Japan’s summer heat. He writes:

“The taste of summer is always delicious to the senses.   It’s that time of year where its muggy and you need a drink to help you mellow out under the shade with the fellas.   A good Heineken usually does the trick, or maybe even a malt liquor or a tall boy.    But a liquor?   That’s the sweet stuff usually reserved for girls, isn’t it?   What about Boone’s Farm, that stuff that isn’t actually wine, but more of a ‘near wine’ like a near beer and that comes in assorted flavors and colors – food coloring?    There is no shortage of the strange concocted drinks that flood American liquor stores and the list continues.   How about Patron XO Cafe, a tequila with a coffee essence?

Here in Japan such experiments with the elixir continue, but albeit with a more natural twist that’s neither pervasive nor overdone.   Just a novelty drink that nobody really takes seriously but fun to geek out on at fancy dinner parties.   A good key point to remember is that liqueur is not nihonshu.    The Shiso liqueur is a drink that’s supposedly  suitable for fatigue and exhaustion.  The  ruby red color represents good fortune and happiness.  It goes on sell July 23rd. from a variety of sake outlets.   Fukuchitose Shiso Liquor

What is Shiso anyway?

It’s a Japanese culinary herb.   In English it can be referred to as Perilla, but nobody calls it that – shiso is shiso.   It’s classified under the mint family.   It’s usually used at sushi bars and as a container for wasabi.   Some patrons actually eat it.     Shiso comes in two colors; red and green.   The red is called “akajiso” and is used for coloring pickled plums.   Most people identify this as umeboshi, the sour stuff in the Japanese bento boxes the obachaans ask you to eat.

If I were to offer up a real summer sake, one that is full of character and panache then go here .”