Where else but in the land of all things trendy (and bizarre) can a cola be inspired by sushi? And that it has to be invented by a conveyor belt sushi chain makes it even more exotic. Shari cola is a just-launched beverage that is available at Kura Zushi chain of restaurants. The cola is made using amazake, a traditional non-alcoholic drink, which contains fermented sushi rice or kome koji, a dash of rice vinegar and water.
Fermenting sushi rice is an age old Japanese tradition and amazake has been lauded for its health benefits and even consumed as a sports drink. Amazake is nutrient rich with high levels of calcium, Vitamin B, iron and potassium among other minerals. But how healthy a carbonated drink made using amazake remains to be seen.
The cola has been launched in the hope that it will appeal to those who aren’t fans of raw sea food but love the taste of koji. Sounds like a perfect drink for tourists too. Besides Shari cola, which takes its name from sushi rice, Kura Zushi also launched the Shari curry pan, a sushi rice flavoured curry bread.
Japanese grand master of tea, Sen no Rikyū, had he been alive, would have thoroughly disapproved since that the cola reportedly uses water from a source in Kyoto, which supplied water for his celebrated tea ceremonies. These were no ordinary events, but called for royal gatherings and even forged political alliances 500 years ago.
But for all those who visit Japan, Shari cola may just be on the list of drinks to try and bring back even.