Gari Hai

Teppoudama | Tokyo, Japan

Gari Hai is a spin on the shochu-based highball known as chu hai, which originated in post–World War II Osaka. At the time, whisky was limited and expensive, but shochu could be made from distilling various ingredients—such as sweet potato, rice, barley, buckwheat, sugar cane and even shiso—and proved to be a more affordable alternative that still quenched the thirst of Japanese drinkers. Today, a canned chu hai can be found on the low end for $1 at a konbini (convenience store) and runs an average of $3 to $5 at an izakaya or tachinomiya. The recipe is uncomplicated and malleable (try it with whiskey, for instance), hinging only on access to pickled ginger, something easily attained at just about any supermarket.


Serving: 1

  • scant 1 3/4 ounces shochu
  • scant 1 3/4 ounces shochu
  • 6 to 7 ounces soda water, to top
  • 6 to 7 ounces soda water, to top

Garnish: 1 large pinch of gari (pickled ginger slices, pink or yellow)

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice, then pour in the shochu.
  2. Top with soda water.
  3. Garnish with a large pinch of pickled ginger atop the ice.