All About Japan

Sip on Latte Spiked With Sake

Food & Drink Cafés Alcohol Sake Kyoto Kansai

There are beautiful temples, shrines, and gardens scattered all across Kyoto, but no matter which sightseeing path you take through Japan’s former capital, odds are you’ll eventually find yourself with some time to kill near Kyoto Station, as it’s the city’s only stop for the high-speed shinkansen bullet train.

If you’ve got some extra time before you have to hop on the train, Kyoto Tower is just across the street, with a 100-meter (328-ft) high observation deck that offers nice views of the city. However, instead of heading up to the top of the tower, you can also head down into the basement of the Kyoto Tower complex, which was renovated this spring and now houses a collection of casual yet stylish local restaurants and bars.

On a recent trip, the folks over at Rocket News 24 grabbed a seat at the Sando Bar to rest their feet and quench their thirst. Torn between wanting a relaxing alcoholic beverage or an invigorating cup of coffee, they found an option on the menu that satisfied both cravings: caffè latte with sake!

The drink is called the Nihonshu Caffè Latte (日本酒カフェラテ) in Japanese.

While it’s not entirely unheard of for sake to be used in cocktails in Japan, the practice isn’t as common as it is at trendy Asian-fusion restaurants overseas. While the beverage looked like plain old iced coffee, a quick sniff revealed the presence of alcohol as with just some delicate sake notes in the aroma.

But though the alcohol is invisible to the eyes and hardly noticeable to the nose, your taste buds will know what’s going on right away. The Sake Caffè Latte has an alcohol kick that belies its unassuming appearance, and the use of local Kyoto-made sake lends a deliciously refined atmosphere to the experience.

The amount of sake used is moderate enough to keep the flavor from getting harsh or the drinker from getting too drunk, once again in keeping with the city’s elegant character. At just ¥580 (US$5.30), the Sake Caffè Latte is an affordable luxury you won’t need to call on divine assistance to pay for, and if you’ve got even more time to lounge around, Sando Bar also has caffè lattes mixed with Japan’s renowned Yamazaki Whisky for only ¥680, giving us one more reason to travel to Kyoto again.

For more information including the address for Kyoto Tower Sando Bar, be sure to click on the full story from Rocket News 24 below.

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