As the evenings become longer and the weather begins to warm up in Japan, our reporter Haruka Takagi has started dreaming of ice-cold summer cocktails.
Though she loves a good cocktail, Haruka doesn’t love the hassle that goes into making them, so when she came across these new “Mio Frozen” pouches at her local supermarket, she immediately grabbed one to try at home.
▼ Mio is a popular brand of sparkling sake that’s usually sold in bottles, like the one pictured on the sign at the right of the photo below.
This was Haruka’s first time seeing the sake being sold in pouches, and that’s because this is no ordinary Mio — this is frozen Mio. Of course, it’s not frozen to start with — you simply have to pop it in the freezer for at least six hours to let it become icy cold.
According to the instructions, once it’s been in the freezer for the suggested time, all you have to do is take it out and gently squish the pouch to loosen its icy contents. The only downside to this process is the fact that it turns your fingers to ice as well, but you can always use a dishcloth to protect your digits from going numb.
If the slab is too hard, you can leave it to thaw at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. Either way, once it’s pliable, you can open the pack and gently ease the frozen sake out into a cocktail glass.
▼ Or, if you’re like Haruka, who couldn’t find her cocktail glass, you can pour it into a regular glass or bowl instead.
Incidentally, the packaging is just as cool as its contents, as there are are two choices for opening it — the top notch opens just enough to help you produce fine shavings, while the bottom notch will give you a wider opening to create larger shavings of ice.
▼ Great attention to detail for those who want to customise their frozen sake texture.
Haruka simply wanted to try the whole 100-milliliter pouch without any regard to texture, so she ripped the big slot open and dumped it all in her bowl.
Haruka had expected it to have a crunchy texture like shaved ice, but it looked more like a slushie, and it was a lot wetter and smoother than she thought it would be.
Haruka lifted a spoonful to her mouth and her taste buds were immediately met with an irresistible sweetness. It wasn’t a saccharine, lolly-like sweetness, though — it was the distinct mellow sweetness of a sweet sake.
It was absolutely delicious, and incredibly easy to consume. The process of freezing the sake seemed to take away any heat from the alcohol, imbuing every mouthful with a pleasant flavor that didn’t taste alcoholic at all.
It was alcoholic, though – every pouch contains five-percent alcohol by volume, and it didn’t take long for Haruka to feel the effects.
As she finished her sake cocktail, Haruka began to feel a strange sense of de ja vu, as the textures reminded her of something. That’s when she remembered Papico, the ice cream in small bottle-shaped plastic containers that she grew up eating as a kid. These ice creams have the same frozen smoothie-like texture as the Frozen Mio, so if you love those ice creams, this sake will be right up your alley.
▼ Mio Frozen contains only two ingredients: rice and malted rice, so it doesn’t stray from the original Mio.
As she finished her frozen sake, Haruka immediately felt like she could down another one, but given that this pouch contained one serving, she decided to restrain herself — like she did at the temple brewery — and stop by the store another day.
She plans to stock up on some more of these for summer, though, when she’ll be adding mixers and a splash of lime to really get that cocktail effect…once she finds her cocktail glass.
Related: Takara Shuzo Mio Frozen
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