Pop Culture and Japan

Pop Culture Pub Crawl: Katana

Being a superhero is a tough gig. There are innocent lives to save, bad guys to stop and ideals to live up to. So, when a character like Katana finds a moment to herself, she’ll want to make the most of it. The Pop Culture Pub Crawl investigates the drinking habits of different superheroes.

With her dedication to Japanese tradition, I’d see Katana carrying out a personal drinking ritual that would bring her closer to her ancestors.

Junmai Ginjo Eternal Spring Sake

Volume: 15%

Taste: Sweet and silky

As the owner of the Soultaker sword, Tatsu Yamashiro is no stranger to communing with spirits. The soul of her husband, Takeo, is a part of the blade. Katana uses the sword to communicate with her husband and remember better times. I can picture her setting up a ceremony to honour Takeo’s memory and this would start by drinking sake.

Katana would begin with a high-grade nihonshu like the junmai ginjo eternal spring. This type of nihonshu is made with a yeast strain called Cel-24, which brings out a beautiful, sweet flavour. Notes of banana, pear and citrus are part of the drink. Due to it being namazake/unpasturised, the eternal spring has a silky texture.

Katana would pour the junmai ginjo into two choko cups as a symbolic gesture. She’d place Soultaker beside one of the cups and drink slowly, letting the good memories wash over her.

Zuisen Awamori

Volume: 30%

Taste: Dry and sweet

Next, Katana would want to clear her palate with a drier type of drink. She’d go for Zuisen awamori because of it being smooth on the taste buds. Awamori is native to the island of Okinawa and packs a robust flavour. This is due to it being made with black koji mold and indica rice.

Katana would take the time to smell the zuisen and inhale the sweet aroma. It would help her picture peaceful images, such as wandering through a cherry blossom forest in Spring. Then, she’d sip the awamori and enjoy the dry flavour.

She’d likely have her zuisen in a mizuwari style, which means cutting the awamori with water. This would help to dilute the sharp flavour and give her room to prepare for the next drink.

Yokka Koji

Volume: 43%

Taste: Fruity with hints of chocolate

Considering the importance of the ritual, Katana would spare no expense with honouring her family. She’d likely break out an exotic drink like a bottle of Yokka Koji awamori.

This special drink is different to other awamori because the koji making process takes twice as long. With a name that translates to ‘Four Day Koji’, the alcohol certainly has a unique reputation.

As a result, the Yokka Koji has a complex profile that includes hints of fruit, madeira and caramel. I could see Katana drinking it on the rocks while she held each flavour in her mind’s eye.

Etsu Gin

Volume: 43%

Taste: Floral and spicy

Excellent craftsmanship is something that Katana values highly. It’s why I’d see her enjoying a handcrafted, artisanal drink like Etsu gin.

Crafted in Hokkaido and diluted with water from the Taisetsu Mountains, Etsu is a multifaceted drink. It contains notes of green tea, coriander, yuzu and green tea. For a garnish, Tatsu would likely choose Sansho pepper to give the gin some extra kick.

Akashi-Tai Shiraume Umeshu Sake

Volume: 14%

Taste: Sweet and moreish

For her final drink of the ritual, Katana would choose a dessert style sake. The Akashi-Tai shiraume umeshu is an excellent choice. A unique style of nihonshu, this drink has a similar profile to plum wine. However, the creation of the sake is different.

Normal plum wine is made by preserving ume plums in distilled spirits. The shiraume umeshu is created by preserving plums in ginjo sake. After six months, the fruit is removed, and the sake is left to age for two years.

When drinking the umeshu, Katana would taste notes of marzipan, raisins and plum. Having successfully toasted the memory of her family, Tatsu would feel more at peace with herself.

Wolverine is another superhero that’s fond of Japanese booze. Be sure to check out the kind of nihonshu and shochu that he’d drink on a night out!

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