drinks

Is the world ready for Japan’s new Lemon & Mint Pepsi? 【Taste test】

So, mint is an extraordinarily versatile, exceedingly summer-appropriate ingredient. It can add a refreshing bite to savory dishes, is the essential main ingredient in basically all of the world’s best ice cream flavors, and is the star of the show in that most refreshing of summer beverages, the mojito (without which would basically just be watery rum).

Mint is the miracle substance that makes Asia’s hellish, your-buddy-just-spontaneously-combusted-hot summers just the slightest bit tolerable; a fact that beverage and snack makers in Japan are finally catching onto, with each passing year seeing better and more diverse mint-infused offerings.

But lemon and mint? That’s the new flavor combo Pepsi is banking on to be the next big thing with its new “Pepsi Special Lemon Mint” drink offering, and we’re just the slightest bit wary.

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Calpis releasing refreshing new cola float flavor just for summer

Calpis is a Japanese soft drink that has been around for almost 100 years. Despite how well-loved it is not only in Japan, but all over South East Asia, most foreigners are only familiar with its name, which sounds like “cow piss”, rather than its actual taste (which is why it’s renamed “Calpico” in the U.S.).

But as you can probably tell by its popularity, Calpis doesn’t taste anything like what it sounds like, and for summer the brand has introduced a limited line of thirst-quenching flavors to help you beat the heat. Ajiwai Cola Float, the second flavor of their limited ajiwai” series, will be hitting shelves from the end of this month, and we’ve got the scoop on what the final product will look like once it does.

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Pro: Six idols fighting over you! Con: They’re all super-powered and violent!! Soda ad: Crazy!!!

There’s a pretty common male fantasy in Japan that goes like this: You’re sitting alone in your classroom at lunchtime, when suddenly, a cute female classmate walks up to you. With your heart fluttering and your stomach growling, you find out she’s ready to satisfy both, as she pulls out a bento lunch box filled with homemade goodies and, while smiling sweetly, asks if you’d eat lunch with her.

Now take that same scenario, but expand the cast from one girl to six. Even better, right?

Sure, at least until you find out that all six of your lady suitors have superpowers and violent streaks, like what happens to this unsuspecting guy in the craziest soda ad we’ve seen in quite a while.

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Japan’s barley soda is so weird in so many ways, yet so right in one 【Taste test】

So this morning, my boss asked me if I wanted to do a taste test of a new drink that just went on sale in Japan. I figured this was a pretty sweet assignment to snag for the day, and not just because at that same moment my boss was having some of the other RocketNews24 writers strip down to their underwear and pose for pictures as part of another project, which I would then have an excuse to sidestep.

See, the taste test was of a new carbonated barley-based beverage, and since beer is one of the wells I go to as a writer, I assumed my boss was talking about the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage. But nope, it turns out that there’s now barley soda in Japan, so I was off to the store to try some of this drink that’s devoid of alcohol but surprisingly full of mystery.

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More lifehacks! The easiest way to keep champagne from going flat, tested

There are all kinds of urban legends and so-called old wives’ tales that proclaim the health benefits, or time-saving benefits, borderline magical properties, or terrifying dangers of doing X or Y. We’ve heard them all: Don’t eat within thirty minutes of swimming or you’ll get a cramp and literally die, bundle up when it’s cold outside or you’ll get a cold (by the way, oh my god, people, stop it with this; a cold is a virus, you don’t get it from the weather), an apple a day will keep the doctor away, a watched pot never boils, etc.

It’s almost like these old sayings and legends are the pre-Internet era equivalent of lifehacks! And since we’ve sort of been on a lifehacking streak recently, we decided to give one of these a test for ourselves: Specifically, the rumor that sticking a spoon into the neck of a champagne bottle will keep it from going flat.

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Pepsi’s awesome Peach Boy reboot continues with new episode, fire-breathing giants【Video】

About half a year ago, we took a look at a unique retelling of the Japanese folk tale of Momotaro, also known as the Peach Boy. Not only was it presented as a series of live-action commercials for Pepsi’s zero-calorie cola, it reimagined Momotaro and his animal companions (a dog, pheasant, and monkey) as gritty action heroes in a desperate fight against the ogre-like oni.

The commercials were so cool that they left many people begging for a full-length theatrical feature, and while a Momotaro movie is yet to be greenlit, the fourth video in the amazing series has been released, with an extra-long runtime and more awesome pyrotechnics than you’re likely to see in any other soda commercial.

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Western products some Japanese people love: Diet Dr. Pepper, the rare unicorn of drinks in Japan

Do you like Japanese snacks and drinks? Can you never get enough of some sweet, sweet Pocky washed down with a nice cold C.C. Lemon?

Well guess what? It goes the other way too! Some Japanese people love certain Western products that are super rare in Japan. Case in point, two of our RocketNews24 Japanese writers have an unhealthy obsession with Diet Dr. Pepper. Both of them have tried to track it down in Japan for years to no avail, finally giving in to lesser drinks.

But not anymore. Something rare and beautiful has been found in Japan, and its name is Diet Dr. Pepper.

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Transform your bottle of tea into Sailor Senshi with these cool Sailor Moon covers from Mini Stop

Heat and humidity are as much a part of a Japanese summer as festivals and fireworks. With the threat of dehydration always looming, it’s a smart idea to always carry a cool, rehydrating beverage with you, but if you’re sweating profusely, you can bet the plastic bottle your drink is in is doing likewise.

To keep the rest of the contents of your bag from getting damp, you could wrap the bottle in a hand towel. A more effective alternative, though, is to slip a specially designed cover over it, and if you’re going that route, why not use one of these cool Sailor Moon costume covers that you can get for free with a bottle of Japanese tea at Mini Stop convenience stores?

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Beautiful anime series about twin princesses and mother’s legacy is also probiotic beverage ad

Twin princesses are born into this world just as the queen’s life ends. Inseparable in childhood, their relationship will be ruptured when one girl’s destiny leads her to take up their mother’s legacy, leaving her sister filled with resentment at being denied the opportunity to serve as savior to her subjects, a role which she had believed a claim to was her birthright.

It sounds like the beginning of an exquisitely produced anime, and in fact, it is. But it’s also part of a startlingly compelling and continuing series of probiotic beverage ads.

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Kirin Beer to begin service delivering kegs directly to your door, kegstands discouraged

Kirin Beer, the Kirin Beverage Company subsidiary unsurprisingly in charge of manufacturing and selling the company’s signature lines of beer, announced yesterday that it will begin offering a service starting from August that will see a beer server and kegs delivered to individual households in the Tokyo area on demand. 

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Starbucks comes to Tottori, local coffee chain’s poster compares it to Perry arriving in Japan

With Starbucks having won the loyalty of so many customers in so many countries, sometimes it seems like the Seattle-based coffee giant has a location in every corner of the world. There’s still at least one place that’s Starbucks-free, though, and that’s Tottori, the last prefecture in Japan without a branch of its own.

The situation is about to change, though, as Starbucks is set to open its first Tottori location this week. Local coffeehouse chain Sunaba Coffee, whose name is almost an exact copy of Starbucks’ Japanese nickname, is bracing for the impact of its new competitor by guaranteeing its product tastes just as good as Starbucks’, while making the humble request that customers get one out of every three coffee fixes at Sunaba.

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How to make the perfect cup of drip coffee

Coffee. It’s the morning drop that most of us like to wake up to. But there’s more to the beloved beverage than just beans and hot water, as there’s a science and art to making good drip coffee, and once you’ve mastered the proper brewing technique for the perfect cup, you’ll never be able to put up with a bad one again.

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All-you-can-drink sake in the park as 23 brewers come to Tokyo for the Shibuya Sake Festival

Late spring is one of the few universally pleasant times to spend outdoors in Japan. The cold of winter and the heavy pollen counts of early spring are gone, and the heat and humidity of summer are yet to make their appearance.

Of course, some would say that no matter how nice the weather is outdoors, it’s even more comfortable to have a drink in hand. Next month, you’ll be able to scratch both those itches at once with the Shibuya Sake Festival in Tokyo’s Miyashita Park, where you can spend a day drinking as much as you’d like of more than 100 different kinds of sake.

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Master glass craftsmen creating 500 handmade Spears of Longinus for Evangelion giveaway

With its crowdfunding project falling short of its goal, Evangelion’s Spear of Longinus won’t be hitching a ride to the moon after all. That doesn’t mean the iconic weapon isn’t still going places, though.

As part of the influential anime’s 20th anniversary celebration, 500 lucky fans will be receiving handmade glass replicas of the spear, just the right size for equipping their Eva models with. The talented craftsman responsible for the high-class anime goodies recently spoke about the experience of making them, and one of them could be yours as long as you remember that you mustn’t run away from your daily glass of vegetable juice.

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Yogurt-flavored water?!? We try Suntory’s new beverage straight, mix it with booze 【Taste test】

Recently, it seems like Japanese beverage makers are all about helping us with our multitasking. First there was the sakura beer that let you enjoy a cold one and contemplate the cherry blossoms at the same time, and earlier this week it was time for a taste test of alcoholic matcha green tea.

Now, it’s time for another double-dose of drinkables, with Suntory’s just-released bottled water with the flavor of…yogurt?!?

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Alcoholic tea ceremony? We try Suntory’s new matcha green tea liquor 【Taste test】

Every now and then, after a nice, satisfying dinner, I’ll find myself with both a thirst and a quandary. Do I feel like capping the meal with a relaxing cup of tea, or something stronger?

Thanks to a new drink that just hit stores in Japan, though, I don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other, because this alcoholic beverage is made with matcha green tea powder.

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Glassware for dining at the V? Panty-clad cups selling fast 【Photos】

Sometimes a story comes across your desk that is so wacko, you just sit and stare at it for ages trying to wrap your brain around it. That happened to me this morning when I saw that an unusual item at the built-to-order site Dwango.jp was selling fast. That item? Hand-blown panty-wearing drinking glasses at a whopping 8,640 yen (US$72.12) a pop.

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Would you care for a sip of my “Princess Urine” energy drink?

April Fools’ Day has really taken off in Japan over the past few years, with major companies getting in on the action too. One of our Japanese writers, the one and only Mr. Sato, sifted through the Internet to find products worthy of his time. That is how he came across the “Princess Urine” drink. You better believe that he bought it, examined it and took some hearty gulps, all for our entertainment, of course.

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Model Miranda Kerr is hungry for tonkatsu in her new Japanese commercial, but what’s she selling?

While a certain amount of God-given natural good looks are generally necessary to get your foot in the door of professional modeling, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into making a successful career out of it. Having your whole livelihood tied up in being physically attractive means sticking to beauty, diet, and fitness regimens, and we’re sure Miranda Kerr’s are stricter than most of ours.

Of course, Kerr is only human, and apparently she too feels the pull of a filling, fortifying meal of tonkatsu pork cutlet, as shown in this new Japanese commercial starring the Australian fashion icon. In a twist ending, though, the item Kerr’s pitching isn’t clothing, cosmetics, or even the delicious Japanese food she’s seen chowing down on.

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Drinkers’ paradise found at Tokyo restaurant-100 types of sake, all-you-can-drink, no time limit

A lot of bars and restaurants in Japan offer special deals where you can drink as much as you like for a certain amount of time, usually about two hours. The downside is these packages often don’t give you access to the full beverage menu. While beer and basic cocktails are generally included, if you’re in the mood for sake, you’re generally restricted to whatever the house brand is.

So we were excited when we heard about a new watering hole opening up in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro neighborhood that lets you pick from 100 different types of sake for its all-you-can-drink plan, and even better, there’s no time limit.

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