The right way to drink Whisky in Japan

Japanese whisky finds itself in a somewhat precarious position, its exponential growth leaving it handicapped by supply shortages. That’s why it remains more myth than go-to drink of choice for many American whiskey drinkers, and it’s also why a trip to Japan is the best way to fully indulge an endless thirst for the water of life emanating from “the sun’s origin,” Nippon.

It’s therefore funny that one savvy secret to drinking well in Japan is to search instead for whiskey from foreign shores. Japanese whisky is in short supply even in its homeland, leaving many bars with jacked-up prices for the best expressions, if they even still have any, and many bottle shops out of coveted releases, instead offering tantalizing deals on bourbon or scotch instead.

Nevertheless, that’s not why you’re making this trip, and there are still endless ways to get in on the Japanese whisky fun. But we’re looking for the right way to drink whisky in Japan, which depending on your budget or interests may include anything from a trip to the source, such as visiting a distillery’s tasting room, to exploring all incarnations of the highball—from canned highballs and draft highballs to scientifically precise cocktails—or drinking up at whisky bars that are indeed still stocked with the good stuff, as well as cocktail bars serving up some of the most creative and artful libations found the world over. Kanpai.