ADAM WHITE crawls around Tokyo’s evolving breed of yakushu bars, which blend traditional medicine and cocktails Adam White前往東京目前大受歡迎的藥酒酒吧,細嚐以中藥調製的雞尾酒

Discovery - - CONTENTS - PHOTOGRAPHY Adam White A N D R E W FA U L K 21

身體不適?宿醉?疲勞?無論你有什麼毛病,總有一種藥酒可以幫助你。在東京,傳統的日藥本 酒與 世紀的雞尾酒文化合混 出一種新風味。 品嚐過其中兩三種

I’ve been lost for a good 20 minutes in a residential corner of Tokyo before I finally find Yakushu Bar Sangenjaya. Bartender Nanako Hanamura is impressed that I’ve managed to track down her bar at all.

‘How the hell did you find us?’ she asks. The place is tiny, no more than a few seats at a counter – more like the microbars of Shinjuku’s Golden Gai. It’s the kind of place the owner set up so they could drink with their friends without having to leave the house. Countless glass jars line the shelves – each with a handwritten label in Japanese, each half-full of a different mysterious ingredient, steeped in clear liquid.

I need a drink. But not just any drink. It’s for my health, you see. I’m here to be cured. I’m here for these jars of yakushu.

Yakushu means ‘medicinal liqueur’. They’re preparations of medicinal herbs, flowers or more outlandish ingredients, steeped in alcohol – most commonly shochu, the Japanese distilled liquor. The ingredient flavours the alcohol, and the booze unlocks its benefits. Supposedly.

This isn’t a new thing: medicinal liqueurs have been in use as long as mankind has had alcohol and medicine, and Yakushu Bar Sangenjaya has been serving these tinctures for 12 years.

But yakushu has become increasingly popular in the Japanese capital of late. A health- conscious Tokyo is looking to the past for inspiration, and it’s turning yakushu from boring old nightcap into trendy new concoction.

The approach appeals to me. I struggle with traditional Chinese medicine because it’s usually served as a hot, bitter soup – but if you could infuse all that herbal goodness into a shot of booze, then what’s not to like?

我在東京某個住宅區內迷了路,兜兜轉轉走了20分鐘,找終於 到三軒茶屋藥酒Bar酒吧。酒保花村奈奈子見我可竟然 以找到她的酒吧,表示大為佩服。

她問:「你究竟是怎樣找到這裡來的?」這個酒吧地方狹小,吧檯旁只放得下幾個座位,跟新宿黃金街那些微型酒吧差不多。這種酒吧大多是老闆用來與三五知己小酌,但又不必離家到別處去。的酒吧 架子上擺了無數的玻璃瓶,每一個都附有手寫的日文標籤,裡面裝著半瓶澈清 的液體,液體裡泡著各種我不日識的材料。

我需要有杯酒下肚,但不是隨便什麼酒都可我以,要一杯有益健康的。酒 我前來這裡是想治癒我的毛病,我是為了這一瓶瓶的藥酒而來的。

藥酒顧名思義,就是用材泡藥 浸 而成的。酒 浸製藥酒的法方 是將藥材、花朵以至其他古靈精怪的材料用酒浸泡,通常都會用日本的烈酒燒酎。材料浸在酒內,為酒添上味道,而據說酒亦能將材料內有益的物質釋放出來。



這種新式藥酒對我極具吸引力,因為我本來想以中藥來調理身體,可是卻難以接受一碗滾熱的苦茶。因此若能將有益的草藥統統泡進一杯酒裡,真那 是再好不過了。

但是該飲哪種藥酒好呢?的狀我 徵 是什麼?如何消除這些徵狀?我要靠酒保花村來為我解答。她建議我從最平易近人的紫蘇藥酒開始,據說有助紓緩緊張和壓力,最宜於狂歡飲和大 大食的假期後用來調養身體。

她將玻璃瓶打,開 舀了幾杓酒進放了冰塊的酒杯內。一陣紫蘇的氣味微微散發出來,清香四溢跟, 我飲常的苦茶截然不同。三杯下肚之後,找尋 這家酒吧時的緊張心情已經被拋到九霄外雲去了。

花對村 我說,酒吧內40多種藥酒全部都是自家浸泡的。她說:「基酒主要是燒酎,也有威士忌。有時會用

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