The iceless Highball King pop-up in HK

Highball master Maguchi Kazunari of the Rockfish bar in Tokyo’s Ginza district, is bringing his signature iceless highball from Tokyo to SoHo’s izakaya Fukuro for two nights from 22-23 October.

The highball – whisky over ice and mixed with water – is a staple drink in Japanese bars (or izakayas as they are known in Japan), while Maguchi Kazunari, whose interest in bartending was sparked after seeing Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail, has spent decades perfecting the drink.

After dedicating himself to the drink for over thirty years, he is widely recognised for the creation of his ice-less iteration of the whisky soda mix.

His signature, ‘Kaku-hi’, is a highball made from an intensely researched ratio of ice-cold Suntory Kakubin 43% – a whisky designed for highballs and sold exclusively to Kazunari – finished with two firm pinches of lemon peel.

Chilled drinks have a long history in Japan and Kazunari drew his inspiration from the Edo period when ice was a rare commodity and so was not used in the drink but used to chill the glasses instead.

It was also thought at the time that putting ice cubes in a drink would water it down too much, a philosophy that Kazunari also subscribes to.

Kazunari will visit Hong Kong from 22-23 October for the guest shift in Fukuro and serve up his signature iceless highball, bringing a totally new experience for late-night revellers.

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