Winter is here and you know what that means: not having a kotatsu at home, you can only drink hot drinks, snuggle by the fire or under warm blankets or relax in a hot bath… Winter in Japan is harsh and you will find a lot of hot drinks to warm you up and avoid colds. Here are 7 ideas of drinks to warm up in winter like in Japan.
1- Japanese green tea
It contains caffeine and also increases your metabolism, so it is the best drink in the morning! However, you should avoid drinking it before going to bed.
How to drink Japanese green tea:
- Preheat the kettle in advance
- Place a teaspoon of tea leaves in a teapot
- Heat the water to about 80°C, check the package recommendations
- Pour the heated water into the teapot and wait a few minutes before serving yourself.
You can add lemon, honey or cinnamon to make it even more effective against sore throats and colds.
If you are looking for a Japanese green tea, genmaicha and hojicha are the most popular in Japan.
2- Shogacha, ginger tea 生姜湯
Shogacha is a tea simply made of hot water and ginger. Ginger has a bactericidal action and improves immunity.
Japanese people drink it in winter, you can also add some lemon and honey if you find the taste of ginger too strong. Among our Japanese friends, some even add a little whisky!
How to prepare shogacha:
- Grate ginger with a grater.
- In a saucepan, add grated ginger and hot water (250 ml)
- Heat over medium heat, do not let the water simmer, and add if you wish a tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken.
- Pour into a cup and it’s ready!
3 – Japanese coffee
The Japanese are big coffee drinkers, and you will find it in a lot of shops such as (Starbucks, Kihachi full Hall, Tully,…) but also in the combini, the vending machines and Japanese coffee shops called kissaten selling unique coffees in Japan.
Coffee is more than an energy drink for Japanese people, it is part of their culture and daily routine.
And, besides, coffee in Japan is different from other countries. Try to taste a Japanese coffee like Boss, Doutor, Georgia, Pokka or UCC Ueshima.
4- Hot chocolate
Hot chocolate is a warm and comforting drink that is enjoyed all over the world.
In Japan, you will find hundreds of different interpretations of this drink, from ordinary hot chocolates to extravagant flavored chocolates bursting with whipped cream and toppings.
How to make hot chocolate like in Japan:
- Break 100 g of milk chocolate into a saucepan and add 100 ml of milk over low heat until the chocolate is melted.
- Once the chocolate is melted, reduce the heat, add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1.5 tablespoons of cornstarch and mix with a whisk.
- Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and mix constantly with a whisk, the hot chocolate thickens, add little by little 100 ml of milk. It is ready!
5- Amazake, sweet sake drink 甘酒
It is a perfect winter drink, healthy, comforting, sweet and creamy!
It is a thick drink that you can dilute with a little water. You can also add other ingredients to make it even tastier, like cinnamon, ginger or vanilla extract.
Be careful, there are several types of amazake, some of which contain a little alcohol.
6- Kuzuyu 葛湯, kudzu tea
Kuzuyu is a sweet Japanese drink made of hot water and kudzu flour, a cousin of arrowroot.
It has a thick, honey-like texture and a pale, translucent appearance. During the winter, kuzuyu is traditionally served as a dessert and hot drink.
Kuzuyu is a drink made from kudzu starch powder. To make it, kudzu flour is added to hot water and stirred until the mixture thickens. Although powdered kudzu lacks fragrance or taste on its own, when dissolved in hot water, it creates a sweet flavor.
7- Yuzu tea, ゆず茶
Yuzu tea is very popular during the winter in Japan. This comforting tea contains no caffeine and has just the right amount of aroma. The yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit it is so tasty and has an incredible aroma! It is especially present in Japanese drinks.
The yuzu fruit is a versatile fruit that is very much used in Japanese cuisine as in the ponzu sauce, yuzushu alcohol, as a dessert or in miso too.
This winter fruit is also used in hot baths in Japan, it helps in case of fatigue and pain.
And if you want to know what Japanese people eat in winter, read our article on winter in Japan, what do they eat?