Among all the things I have tried, the Suntory Kaku High in a can is the best recommendation. In most cases, it is even better than the one you order at a bar or restaurant. We commonly refer to it as “Kaku High” in a can, and it is sold almost everywhere in Japan. If you buy one at a convenience store, it costs slightly above 200 yen, which is not as expensive as similar drinks from other makers. I have seen many equivalent highball drinks in shops, but so far, all of them have failed to compete with Suntory’s Kaku High. I’m not exactly sure why it tastes so good, even better than the Kaku whisky itself, but when combined with soda, the liquid suddenly becomes a lime-lemon and spicy liquor that pairs well with any kind of food or can be enjoyed alone. It is especially good to drink with oily foods like Chinese cuisine or Ramen Noodle. These types of food shops often offer the option to have a highball, but I don’t recommend ordering it from the menu unless they specifically mention using Suntory Kaku, as they tend to use cheap whiskies. The Highball and the Kaku High are completely different drinks.
You might wonder what makes it so good, and I keep asking myself the same question repeatedly. I have tried many times to make my own Kaku high. It is quite simple. Just buy a small-sized bottle of Kaku whisky, which is easy to find and won’t cost more than 1,000 yen, and get some soda, like Wilkinoson, and mix them together. You can add lemon or other ingredients to suit your taste and make it even better. I simply mix the two together, sometimes adjusting the ratio of soda to liquor. When you bring it home to drink, it is cheaper than buying cans, but I have never made it better than the canned version. We often believe that craft style is superior to factory-made, but here I see it the opposite way. Let the Suntory factory do their work, and we can enjoy something better. Kaku whisky is one of Suntory’s long-time flagship blended whiskies. However, when compared to the Single Malts of Yamazaki or the Hibiki Blend, Kaku is more oriented towards the mass market, and you will notice the difference in taste when you try it neat. It is somewhat bitter and the aftertaste is not good at all. When mixed with soda, somehow all the unpleasant characteristics of Kaku whisky diminish and only the sharp edges are softened. It is truly a miracle.
One great thing about canned Kaku High is its stylish design, allowing you to carry it with you outside without any embarrassment, just like a beer can. To enjoy Suntory Kaku High, simply grab one from any shop and drink it outdoors, whether in the park or along the river. Find a bench and turn it into a mini pop-up party. Especially when the weather is suitable for outdoor drinking, let’s make the most of it and enjoy a drink under the sun. Drinking culture in Japan has been somewhat peculiar, with an emphasis on enjoying drinks after sunset. However, recently we have seen an increasing number of inbound tourists enjoying drinks from early hours, and bars and night-type restaurants are shifting to start business earlier. This suggests that our culture might be starting to change. It is important to drink responsibly and in moderation. It’s not pleasant to see someone intoxicated in the middle of the day, and it’s even worse to keep drinking excessively late into the night. Regardless, Kaku High is a fantastic drink that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere. Its quality-to-price ratio is superb, and it showcases the fine quality of Japanese whisky without the need to spend hours searching for brands like Yamazaki or Ichiro’s.