Chūhai (チューハイ or 酎ハイ), often sold as Chu-Hi as a canned drink, is an alcoholic drink originating from Japan. The name chūhai is an abbreviation of "shōchū highball" (焼酎ハイボール). Traditional chūhai is made with shōchū and carbonated water flavored with lemon, though some modern commercial variants use vodka in place of shōchū. The flavors available have recently multiplied, including lime, grapefruit, apple, orange, pineapple, grape, kyoho grape, kiwi, ume, yuzu, lychee, peach, strawberry cream, and cream soda.
For the chūhai sold in bars and restaurants, the alcohol content can be quite low, allowing those with a low tolerance for alcohol to drink safely. Canned chūhai, however, can have alcohol levels as high as 12% (24 proof) and is often sold in convenience stores and vending machines. Chūhai is served in tall glasses or mugs as drinks for individuals, making it less social than other traditional Japanese bar drinks like sake, beer, or whisky, which can be shared by pouring portions from a large bottle. Fresh chūhai nama chūhai (生酎ハイ) is also sometimes served, featuring fresh-squeezed juice; in some cases guests squeeze their own juice. Due to the high sugar content, the number of calories in each bottle can be quite high compared to other alcoholic beverages.
Availability in United States
Takara Sake produces two flavors (white peach and grapefruit) of bottled chuhai under the JPOP label that are available in the United States. Sangaria also produces two flavors (lemon and grapefruit) of canned chuhai for the US market.
- Lewis, Leo (March 6, 2018). "Coca-Cola to launch alcoholic drink in Japan". Financial Times.
In answer to a question about what new products he anticipates bringing to market in 2018, Mr Garduño is quoted as saying that the company will experiment with a product in a category known in Japan as Chu-Hi — “a canned drink that includes alcohol”, traditionally made, he adds, from a distilled beverage called shochu, sparkling water and flavouring.
- Pham, Sherisse. "Coke is launching an alcoholic drink in Japan". CNNMoney. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
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