The Shochu Oolong mixer, also known as Oolong-hai or Shochu iced tea, is a widespread serve in Izakaya-style restaurants in Japan. This tasty Highball is an excellent way to beat the summer heat.
The combination of tea and ice makes the Shochu Oolong super refreshing.
Especially the tea leaves and Shochu give the drink a mild and earthy taste. It's slightly sweet with roasted notes and sips like a perfect iced tea for grown-ups.
What is an Oolong-Hai Cocktail?
The Oolong-hai or Shochu Oolong mixer is one of the best-selling drinks in Izakaya restaurants. It has a refreshing and earthy taste and is a refreshing drink for hot days.
Just like the Chu-hai, the Oolong-hai is named "hai" in reference to the term "Highball".
Highballs are drinks usually made of only two ingredients paired in the ideal possible. -Meaning, perfect ratio, crystal clear ice, and quality ingredients.
Japanese Highballs have a long tradition and are known all over the world.
It's not only the Chu-hai and Oolong-hai but also the Whisky-based drinks served at izakayas and karaoke bars.
What is Shochu?
Shochu is the most popular alcoholic drink in Japan. More popular than Sake, beer, and Japanese Whisky.
On average, the distilled spirit contains around 20% to 30% alcohol by volume. Yet, some bottles do have a higher ABV.
There are two categories of Shochu indicating how it was produced.
Honkaku Shochu is the traditional version with a single-step distillation process. Kourui Shochu is the more industrial, purer, yet less aromatic category of Shochu.
Depending on the base ingredient and region, Shochu is classified into these different types:
- Imo Shochu (made from sweet potato)
- Mugi Shochu (made from barley )
- Kome Shochu (made from rice)
- Kokuto Shochu (made from brown sugar)
- Soba Shochu (made from buckwheat)
- Shiso Shochu (made from Shiso herb)
- Okinawan or Awamori (made on Okinawa)
Which Shochu in an Oolong-hai?
The best Shochu to use in an Oolong-hai is mugi Shochu or imo Shochu.
The Shochus made from either sweet potato or barley has a mild, earthy, and slightly sweet taste. A perfect combination with Oolong tea.
How to prepare an Oolong-hai
Perhaps you had an Oolong-hai in an Izakaya-style restaurant and want to make it at home.
The first step is to get the right ingredients. But then you can't just put them all together.
In fact, in Japan, preparing Shochu and Shochu cocktails is a form of art.
Just look at the different ways to drink Shochu, and you'll realize that small details can make or break the result.
Preparing the cocktail is about sticking to the right ratios, making the Oolong-hai in the correct order, and using the right ice.
But despite everything, once you figured these things out, the Oolong-hai tea cocktail is pretty easy to make.
The Oolong tea
Oolong tea is available in different styles and flavors. For making a great Oolong-hai, I recommend a dark, heavier-oxidized, or roasted Oolong tea.
The floral versions are not perfect, but if that's what you got, you can still go with it.
Just make sure to brew the tea in advance and let it cool down. That will take a little while, so plan ahead. After all, you don't want warm tea to melt our ice.
The ratios of Oolong tea to Shochu
The correct ratios play a vital role in Shochu drink preparation. For an iced Shochu Oolong cocktail, you'll need 4 parts Shochu per 6 parts Oolong tea.
The steps to make an Oolong-hai
Making an Oolong-hai is easy when using the right ingredients with the correct ratios. Still, remember to use freshly brewed and cooled down Oolong tea and clear, quality ice.
If your ice cubes are small and cloudy, they will melt faster, diluting your Oolong-hai.
The best choice would be a crystal clear Collins ice stick, but regular large, clear ice cubes will work too.
- Fill a Highball glass with ice.
- Pour over the Shochu (mugi or imo Shochu) to immediately chill it.
- Add the Oolong tea and stir gently before serving.
- 2 oz Shochu
- 3 oz Oolong tea
- Put clear quality ice into a Highball glass.
- Pour the Shochu over the ice to immediately chill it.
- Add the chilled Oolong tea and gently stir the drink.
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