This month, Suntory and Chronicle Books are releasing a new book called Japanese Cocktails, by Yuri Kato. Born and raised in Japan, Ms. Kato's book explores Japan’s cocktail heritage, near mystical spirits, traditions, travel destinations and more. Two chapters are dedicated to whiskey, the history of Japanese whiskey and Japanese whiskey cocktails.
One Japanese-originated trend that is becoming popular here is the ice ball. In the U.S., the ball is usually molded, but most Japanese bars stay true to tradition by hand carving each ball with a pick from a large block of ice. This is usually done by apprentice bartenders, who almost always start at the carving board. The large, round ice balls are great for whiskey drinks because they melt more slowly than cubes, thus preserving the flavor profile of the whiskey.
The book's official release date is February 17, but it is apparently available now on Amazon.
Suntory, which is underwriting the publication, is the largest distilled spirits producer in Japan.