TAKARAZUKA, Hyogo, Japan – As part of efforts to promote the city of Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, as the birthplace of carbonated water in Japan, a local tourism association has created a “Takarazuka Highball” using whisky and liqueur with the scent of violets and roses.
In 1889, English businessman John Clifford Wilkinson discovered a mineral spring that produced carbonated water near Mukogawa river in the flourishing hot spring town of Takarazuka. This is said to be the start of the city’s history with carbonated water, according to the Takarazuka municipal government.
Sales of Wilkinson Tansan began in 1904, featuring strongly tingling carbonation, and it was eventually exported. Asahi Soft Drinks Co. currently manufactures the product.
Aiming to benefit from the recent popularity of carbonated water, the Takarazuka International Tourism Association last year commissioned Takarazuka Hotel to devise a local recipe for a special highball. The hotel’s Kusunoki bar created Takarazuka Highball using liqueur with the scent of roses and violets to symbolize the Takarazuka Revue, an all-women theater troupe based in the city.
To make the Takarazuka Highball, mix the liqueur and ice in a blender to create a sherbet, place the sherbet in the bottom of a glass, and pour carbonated water and whisky over it. Three tiers of colors from pale purple to amber are created.
Mixing it with a swizzle stick creates subtle shades of color in the glass.
“I think women will love this highball, which feels like a cocktail with reduced sweetness. I also want them to enjoy the texture of the ice,” said Satoshi Ichihashi, a bartender at Kusunoki who was involved in developing the recipe.