Suntory Strong Zero Dry

TV Commercials for Suntory's Strong Zero line of Chu-hai drinks gives people the impression that there's a great deal of flavour and they'll come away refreshed with every gulp. As one would expect from marketing, reality is quite a bit different. Over the years I've tried a number of "dry" beverages from companies like Suntory, Asahi, and Kirin only to be disappointed. This drink, however, is a little different.

Suntory Strong Zero Dry

The tagline reads あまくないキレ味1 and I would agree with the first half. Strong Zero Dry has a distinctive lime flavour and tartness that would pair well with tempura or Pringles potato chips. The aftertaste, however, leaves a bit to be desired. I'm a huge fan of citrus drinks, even the artificially-flavoured ones. The lime in this drink does not strike me as lime. If anything, I'd venture that it's just plain carbonated water with alcohol in the can. Every sip just made me thirstier, which might be the point of a dry drink, but doesn't encourage a repeat buy if someone's trying to enjoy one of these on a hot day.

Given the choice between buying another one of these or a Sprite, I'd go with the latter.

500mL cans of Strong Zero Dry seem to go for around 220 Yen at convenience stores, but I picked this one up at a grocery store for 138 Yen. One thing I can say about this drink is that the alcohol did hit much faster than I've experienced with other 9% Suntory drinks. The first indications of the buzz were felt about 10 minutes after opening the can and stuck around for close to five hours. If the goal is just to have a long-lasting buzz, this will definitely do the job.

  1. Not sweet, clean taste.

Kirin Sicilian Lemon

When it comes to non-beer alcoholic beverages, Kirin puts out some of my favourites. Their best offering, as far as I've tried, is their Sicilian Lemon; a 5% liqueur that goes down as smooth as a bottle of lemon-flavoured water. These are particularly good on hot days alongside some takoyaki or another salty snack.

kirin sicilian lemon

One of my little pleasures is having a 355mL can of Kirin's Sicilian Lemon right after finishing a Suntory Double Grapefruit. The lighter lemon tang is complimented by Suntory's stronger citrus drink and the two tend to balance out quite nicely.

500mL cans of Kirin's Sicilian Lemon can generally be found for 197 Yen at convenience stores and about 140 Yen at grocery stores. The 355mL cans occasionally drop to 99 Yen at Apita, making them an incredibly attractive addition to any visit to the park.

Suntory Strong Zero — Double Grapefruit

Suntory puts out a large number of great drinks that can be enjoyed all year around. Not too long ago they started offering a 9% Chu-hai with a stronger citrus flavour called ダブルグレープフルーツ, or "Double Grapefruit". This has been one of my favourite drinks to enjoy when sitting in the park or taking a Shinkansen home after a day of meetings in Tokyo, as it has just the right balance of flavour and alcohol.

Suntory Strong Zero — ダブルグレープフルーツ

A 500mL can generally sells for a little over 200 Yen at the local convenience store or, if you're near a grocery store, cans can be found for as little as 138 Yen. I generally pick these up at a nearby Apita along with some sort of sweet bread to compliment the strong citrus taste.

As with all alcoholic beverages, please do not drive after having one of these. For me the buzz from a singe can becomes noticeable within 20 minutes and lasts a good two or three hours before fading.

Drinking in Japan

Alcohol Selection at a Local コンビニ

A lot of visitors to Japan are surprised by the prevalence of alcohol in the country. People can buy just about anything they might desire from a train station, grocery store, and even the local 7-Eleven. Which ones are good? Which ones should be tried at least once as a seasonal treat? Which ones can be avoided? Drinking in Japan will try to help answer these questions.