Tuesday, January 18, 2011

SpyShopper--In The Liquor Aisle

Since I recently posted on how to make your own Umeshu, I thought readers might be interested to see what's available in a basic liquor aisle--and how much things cost.

The tall green bottle there in the photo is the best known brand, Choya--the one with several plums in the bottle and a wide mouth so you can get them out and eat them.  Dr. Coyne over at WEIT just bought a bottle of the Choya to try, and paid about $12 at Binney's in Chicago.  The price on the bottle in the photo is Y1000, or about $11 or $12 given the current exchange rate--not bad!!  So Binney's, it would appear, has very reasonable prices:-))

Here's more of the Umeshu section of the liquor aisle.  It comes in glass bottles, and also cartons and cans--straight and carbonated (umeshu soda is *good*!)  The medium size white carton is "Sarari to shita umeshu", a commercial for which I posted the other day.  It's not terribly expensive ($5-6 for a medium carton, $8-9 for a large carton), and umeshu mixes well with lots of things--soda, tonic, milk (for a yogurt-like drink), hot green tea, ginger ale, sour mix, and I'm thinking of heating some umeshu to steaming and mixing it with some of my sweet ginger syrup that I put in tea...

 ...as long as we're in the liquor aisle--here's a new one I saw today.  Apparently Sapporo Brewery and Royce Chocolates have teamed up and produced some type of hops-based drink that incorporates chocolate (bitter)...

...and sweet...

...for Y260 a can, which I though was a little steep.  And slightly weird--I can't quite imagine that beer taste and chocolate taste would...match.

If anybody is desperate to know what it tastes like, tell me and I'll buy a can--in the spirit of scientific inquiry, you know ;-))

 So...I went to get butter.  Which I promptly forgot, as I remembered six other things I needed, prompting a call to my husband at 7pm asking *him* to pick up some butter.  This is not the recommended way to stick to a budget.  I did, however, get a can of Sapporo/Royce Chocolat Brewery-Sweet.  And I did taste it.  Not being a beer drinker under normal circumstances, I think I've gotten in *waaay* over my head in attempting to drink and describe something which is, basically, beer.  Or...ale?  Dark ale?  A stout?  Not Budweiser--not by a long shot.  I could certainly taste cocoa (I think), but the oddest thing was having an extremely strong memory flashback triggered by the initial taste on my tongue...yet being utterly unable (still--this is the next morning) to recall the memory.  Like having an important-looking light flashing desperately on the dashboard of your car, but not having the faintest idea what that light is for.

Back to the beer (beer?).  At Y260 a can, I personally wouldn't buy it again--it just wasn't all that.  Though, to be fair, it was in a can.  Possibly a fresher version would be better, or more interesting.  To be more fair, I should find a friend who likes beer more than I do to taste it and give an assessment.  Gomen Nasai!


  1. I am desperate to know what the chocolate beer tastes like!

  2. Right-o! On the job then...! I have to get butter anyway...

  3. I just noticed, though, that the Japanese bottle of Choya Umeshu has 720 ml, so it's nearly 50% larger (at the same price) as the American version (500 ml).

  4. Aha! There's always a catch...still $12 isn't too bad for a 500ml bottle that's imported...