Summer tonic: 5 of Tokyo's freshest drinks
The searing heat and soul-crushing humidity of Tokyo summers can be hard to handle. This, we know.
Fortunately, the city has plenty of stylish bars providing air-conditioned respite and expertly mixed fruity cocktails to make the season more bearable.
All drinks listed are subject to availability and come and go like the seasons themselves. We could say similar things about the prices. Feel free to ask for a suggestion -- they're all good.
Oak Door Bar
Nothing says summer like a good mojito.
The Oak Door Bar on the sixth floor of the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi was one of the first places in Tokyo to popularize fresh-fruit mojitos and they’re still as good as ever -- available in a rainbow array of flavors from raspberry to ume.
Better yet are original cocktails like the Jereck’s Banana, a smooth and creamy blend of Jack Daniel’s, Amaretto and fresh banana or the Plus Alpha Buck, a refreshing mix of Beefeater 24 gin and shiso liqueur, topped off with a splash of ginger ale.
On breezy evenings, it's time take it out onto the terrace and sip al fresco.
Grand Hyatt Hotel 6/F, 6-3-10 Roppongi, Minato-ku; +81 (0) 3 4333 8784; open 11:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m.; www.grandhyatttokyo.com
The swanky Maduro cigar bar two stories down in the Grand Hyatt is the place to go if it's molecular mixology you're into.
The Granizado Salty Dog is gin and grapefruit juice poured over cool slivers of grapefruit granita and finished with lime-and-salt foam.
The passion fruit daiquiri with cranberry espuma is the ultimate chick drink -- fresh passion fruit seeds floating in a vivid fuchsia cocktail topped with baby-pink cranberry foam. Each to their own, we guess.
Grand Hyatt Hotel 4/F, 6-3-10 Roppongi, Minato-ku; +81 (0) 3 4333 8783; open 7 p.m.-1 a.m.; www.grandhyatttokyo.com
Ekki Bar and Grill
Ekki Bar and Grill at the Four Seasons in Marunouchi has been known to add Acai berry cocktails to its Sunset Happy Hour drinks menu.
The purple berry from South America is supposedly loaded with antioxidants, polyphenols and other healthy compounds.
Still, no super food is powerful enough to combat the potential damage resulting from two hours of unlimited cocktails, beer and wine (¥2,900 for women, ¥3,800 for men).
Pricing is subject to change, as is what's on the menu -- the "Four Seasons" part of the name gives a clue to that last part, BTW.
Four Seasons Hotel 7/F, 1-11-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Pacific Century Place; +81 (0) 3 5222 5810; open 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; marunouchi.fourseasons.com
Aoyama’s sleek Bar Rage has developed a reputation for premium fresh-fruit martinis.
Recommended for summer are a salubrious melon and orange martini and a luscious mango and honey martini flavored with black tea, but you can’t go wrong with the watermelon and ginger martini.
Alternatively, just ask the bartender what he or she feels like making on the night -- you won't go wrong.
Bulls 3/F, 7-13-13 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku; +81 (0) 3 5467 3977; open 6 p.m.-midnight; www.mixologist.co.jp
Bar High Five
At Bar High Five in Ginza, master mixer Hidetsugo Ueno serves up elaborate takes on retro summer classics.
Instead of drink names, the menu sometimes lists seasonal fruits if they're, well, in season.
Golden pineapple is whipped into a first-rate Pina Colada or thrown into a Singapore Sling; juicy peaches are muddled with pink champagne to make an elegant Bellini.
If you haven’t had one of these since high school, now’s the perfect time.
26 Polestar Bldg 4/F, 7-2-14 Ginza, Chuo-ku. +81 (0) 3 3571 5815; open until late; www.barhighfive.com
First published in August 2010, this article was updated in August 2012.
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