Although fairly new to the Japanese culture (production is believed to have started in the mid 1800's), Japanese Whisky is now one of the defining sub-genre of drinks of the East Asian country. Japanese whisky tends to be drier and smokier than sweet American whisky due to the modelled technique of double-distilling and ageing in wooded barrels.
Drinking Japanese whisky is an entire experience in itself, which is why we simply had to share our knowledge of where to find the best spots in Auckland to try it out. Head along to any of these top three spots to convert into a whisky-lover instantly.
The Gyoza Bar
One of the most talked-about Japanese spots in the city, The Gyoza Bar on Ponsonby Road knows all about Japanese cuisine and Japanese whisky. With an offering of more than 35 different whiskies, the team at Gyoza Bar encourage you to come in and get to know each and every whisky on their list. The whisky menu consists of plenty of Suntory, Nikka, and other smaller boutique distillers, with options ranging from single malt to blended, grains, and barley.
The team at The Gyoza Bar highly recommend enjoying a few dry nibbles with your whisky, to let the flavours talk for themselves. Or opt for their High-ball (whisky and soda) with their karaage chicken or gyoza dumplings, before moving on to neat whisky or on-the-rocks after your meal. They're always happy to help you find your perfect match, and with impeccable service and expert knowledge, it's our favourite spot to indulge in a drink.
Little brother to the incredible Ebisu, Fukuko shines through as a contemporary Japanese-inspired Shōchū cocktail and snack bar. Fukuko has a short and sweet menu, with an 'ask and you shall receive' aspect to it. Toki Whisky Soda features on the menu, but head up to the bar and get to know what other options they have if you're looking for something different. The drinks do change from time to time, meaning you could end up with something new each visit, but no matter the drink, the experts at Fukuko will make it taste spectacular. Add on a plate of their fried chicken or some edamame beans and enjoy the view of Takutai Square.
Chop Chop Noodle House
As great as Chop Chop Noodle House's noodle bowls are, we think the real star of the show is their extensive international whisky list. Tucked into Ponsonby Central, Chop Chop is all about serving up Asian street eats with no fuss. Here's the best way to indulge: Head in and order a bowl of spicy noodles in broth, and then head straight to the Japanese whiskies section of the menu to choose between their Mars Cosmo or Mars Iwai Tradition. The Mars Cosmo offers a bright colour with an aroma of ripe fruit and sweet spices, resulting in a smooth finish. While the Mars Iwai Tradition is richer with a gold tinge and a complex sweet honey and malt fragrance, resulting in something a little deeper than the Cosmo. Cool down from your red-hot noodles with an icy-cold Japanese whisky, and cut through the rich creamy broth with a dry, smokey drink at Chop Chop.