As some of you may know, the drink Chu Hai was the original source of inspiration for our founder Steph to create her brand, Chu Lo. It all started back in 2012 when Steph travelled with the British Royal Navy to Tokyo where she tasted the hugely popular alcoholic drink Chu hai. She loved the taste but back in England there was nothing on the market quite like it and shipping the drink from Japan was out of the question, so she started Chu Lo!
Now, although you may love Chu Lo, or are curious about the taste of it, we thought we would share some knowledge as to what the inspiration behind it actually tastes like, and what is Chu Hai? Chu Hai is a Japanese cocktail drink, which incorporates fruit juice, traditionally lemon, with sochu and sparkling water.While chu hai is a staple of the bar world, it truly grew into an independent phenomenon with the introduction of canned chu hai.
The alcohol element comes from the sochu within the drink, sochu is similar to vodka as we know it, but has Japanese origin. This gives it its unique flavour, compared to cocktails back in England! Its alcohol content can range from as low as 3% to around 9% depending on which brand you are buying from.
It has quite a long history, with its first appearance in Japan after WWII. After the war, there was an alcohol shortage, so people began producing shochu at home using ingredients like sweet potatoes, brown sugar and buckwheat. This was a cheaper alternative to drinking whiskey. During this time, shochu did not have a favorable taste, leading to people mixing it with soda water, making it easier to drink. This drink was known as shochu highball, which was shortened to chuhai. Each person adopted the mixed drink and made it their own by adding juices, syrups, or teas.
All in all, we get why Steph was fascinated by this great drink on her visits to Japan, and it has lead to Chu Hai being available in non-alchohhlic form here! If you want to compare the tastes of Chu Lo and Chu Hai, head to our online shop to purchase some, and why not go to your local Asian supermarket and pick up some of the OG Chu Hai and let us know how they compare?!