Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hiyashi Ame (Cold Ginger Drink)

Hiyashi Ame (Cold Ginger Drink)

OK. To answer the repeated requests from one of my dear readers, here’s an entry of a Japanese summer drink, “hiyashi ame (cold ginger drink).” Perhaps those who live (or have lived) in Kanto area have never heard of this drink. It is said that hiyashi ame is a traditional drink known in the western half of Japan only.

Hiyashi Ame (Cold Ginger Drink)
30g Ginger root (sliced)
20g Ginger root (grated) to get apx. 2 tsp. ginger juice
140 - 150g Malt sugar syrup
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Teabag of black tea
400 cc Water

Squeeze grated ginger to get juice. Cook sliced ginger, malt sugar syrup, sugar and water in a sauce pan, stirring occasionally, and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another minute. Turn off heat. Put teabag in and leave until the sugar-ginger mixture turns amber. Remove teabag and sliced ginger. Add apx. 2 teaspoons of ginger juice. After cooling down, cool in the fridge. Serves 4 or 5.
(I can’t drink this much at one time, so I usually use small glasses.)

One thing you have to keep in mind is that new ginger roots just harvested this summer are not as strong as old ones. I used rather old ginger this time, but I would change the amount of ginger root slices and juice when I use new ginger roots. My recipe above is based on the one I found on a Japanese website, but I made some changes and still not 100% satisfied with my recipe. It was OK when I tasted while the drink was warm, but after cooling in the fridge overnight, it turned out stronger than I thought ;P

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For making this drink, I think it is the best to add ginger juice little by little, tasting after each addition, and decide the amount you like. If you want it sweeter, you can add more sugar while the drink is still warm, or if you think it got too strong, you can add some water there.

I used black tea to give the drink an amber color, as introduced in the Japanese recipe, but I guess it is not a traditional way…because people did not have black tea in olden days in Japan. I don’t know how they colored hiyashi ame at that time. (Maybe they used dark malt sugar syrup.)

There is a small shop on the Sunday Market Street in Kochi that is famous for the hiyashi ame they serve there. It’s located very close to Kochi castle and you see many elder people playing shogi (Japanese chess) outside right next to the shop. The shop owner says his hiyashi ame recipe is a special one and he keeps it a secret.


Anonymous said...

OK I will limit myself one post every other day on this fabulous blog.

The cold drink looks so good right now. But I don't have ginger. Today in Washington DC the heat was suffocating. I thought I felt drowsy even walking on the street. The minute I opened the door to my airconditioned apartment, I was never so glad.

Some of the best cold drinks that are non-alcoholic are in Asian. Have you tried the Korean cinnamon tea, the Chinese sour plum tea, or the Taiwenese road side lemonade? What could be more charming then sipping great cold drinks with some friends who understand you, say on a patio surrounded by summer's bounty of herbs?

PS Ochaban, I was ignorant to think that people in Japan eat sushi everyday. When and if I visit Japan, I will come to Kochi and treat you to the best sushi place there is, as a way to thank you for the Fabulous Bloging that you treat us with every few days!

But somehow I will have to convince my husband that we have to go to Kochi. Hmm... Tick Tock Tick Tock (brain processing information). Got it! My husband is a outdoors fanatics. I think I can lure him by saying that we can bike 47 miles from Shikoku to Hiroshima on that string of bridges...he he he, I am pretty cleaver huh?  

Posted by Joanna

Anonymous said...


Since we're on the subject of "traditional drinks" and since you work at an izakaya, I was wondering if you could tell me what this drink is. I saw it on a japanese drama and the guy was drinking some clear liquid like water and there was an umeboshi inside. Could you please tell me what kind of drink it is, what is in it and the japanese name for it. I'll feel really stupid if it is some kind of sake but I will appreciate your help. Thanks for your fun sight and your recipes.  

Posted by kyle

Anonymous said...

heyyy... it's been quite a while since i post.. my mom love to give me hot ginger drink when i am down w flu and apparently it helps...

and.. i linked you up on my blog =]
hope u won't mind~~~ 

Posted by pJ

Anonymous said...

Ginger is just so refreshing, no??? We have this traditional drink where ginger juice is extracted, and mixed with black tea, drunk hot with condensed milk. Similar somewhat in concept I guess.....that photo just makes it look so tempting! (Even though it's winter here in Australia now. Hee) 

Posted by Jme

Anonymous said...

The ginger drink looks so refreshing and cool. I am going to try it this weekend....I enjoy the taste of ginger and have had warm ginger tea...without quite as much sugar....But, being cold, it will need the sugar!!!! I look forward to trying it...

Posted by carlyn

Anonymous said...

Love your ginger drink.. hope to try the original ones sometime in the future.. when i go back to asia.. :) 

Posted by MrsT

Anonymous said...

> Joanna --- Yes, yes!! I had Korean cinnamon tea a couple of months ago!! It was such a hot day and I had maybe 4 or 5 glasses of the drink in total.
Ah… cold drinks on a patio! Dream life, again….
Thanks so much for your offer and a nice plot. But I prefer a sushi place in Tokyo rather than kochi…;)

> kyle --- That must be “Ume chu-hai,” if it was a cold drink and there were bubbles in the clear water. Chu-hai is “shochu (distilled spirit)” mixed with soda. There are a variety of flavored chu-hai including ume, peach, lemon, lime, grape, orange, even woolong tea.….anything.
It also could be shochu mixed with hot or cold water instead of soda. I’m not sure what it is called commonly … maybe “shochu ume-wari?” At least, that’s how we call it at our izakaya and they add “hot/cold” at the end to make a distinction. Hope this helps : )

> pJ --- Of course I don’t mind. Thank you for linking. Ginger must be very good for health, right? I hated ginger when I was a kid, but now I love it.

> Jme --- Oh, yeah, I always forget that our summer is your winter. It’s no surprise that the combination of ginger and tea is popular in many countries, ‘cuz it’s so good : )

> carlyn --- Enjoy experimenting : )

> MrsT --- It is really refreshing when it has the right amount of sugar and ginger for you, but if you get the one that’s too strong or too sweet, you might want another glass of more refreshing drink right after. We have canned/bottled hiyashi ame sold at supermarkets around here, but it’s kinda like a gamble to buy one at the store, because you can’t taste it beforehand. 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...

obachan !!
thank you for the drink !!! it will be my experiment this saturday... you are great !!! sorry too many exclamation marks.

Posted by eve

Anonymous said...

Hi eve,
Glad that you saw my post. I don't know if you'd like this or not...because some people really hate this hiyashi ame. Well, we'll see. 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan - I don't think I've had Hiyashi Ame before, but it looks/sounds really refreshing. Is it hot in Kochi already? The new design of your site looks fab too! 

Posted by keiko

Anonymous said...

Hi keiko!
It’s no wonder… you are from kanto area, right? Hiyashi ame is almost like cooled shoga-yu, except it has more body from the bakugato mizuame. And some people do hate hiyashi ame because of this extra body and ginger flavor. I like it maybe mostly from nostalgic feeling associated with it… the hiyashi ame instantly brings me the image of cool shade of trees on a hot summer afternoon with semi-sigure in the background. Yep, it’s already hot in Kochi. Today’s high is supposed to be 31C. How about that? And there’ll be an official announcement of the start of our tsuyu season tomorrow. 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe! I just tried hiyashi ame in Kyoto last weekend and it was so delicious and refreshing! I heard its very popular in Osaka too. And I am glad I just discovered your blog!

nhgal628 said...

I had a cold glass of ginger water at my grandmother's house any time I wanted it. She always had it in her "ice box" when I was little and then in her refrigerator when I got older...I wish I had asked her how to make it. It was just ginger flavor with a bit of sweetening. It was practically colorless and quenched the thirst better than anything else. I am not Japanese...My grandmother was French so I do not know where this idea originated for our family.
Posted by nhgal628.

Anonymous said...

put tumeric powder in a nylon sock and soaked in the water you will boil the ginger. that will give a yellow/orange tint plus tumeric is an anti-inflamatory