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Sugi Bee Garden Kyohou & Honey

Sugi Bee Garden Kyohou & Honey is a chain of stores in Japan spe­cial­ising in honey products from Sugi Bee Garden. While D and I love to browse shops in Japan, many of which lure cus­tom­ers in with free samples, Sugi Yohoen is the one that not only man­ages to lure us in but has us also leav­ing with a pur­chase.

Why? Because one of their honey products is fruit juice honey, ‘honey fla­voured with fruit juice that has a gentle sweet­ness and crisp, refresh­ing taste’. D and I love our fla­voured drinks, and the fruit juice honey is deli­cious without the overly sweet and flor­al notes of usu­al honey. One sip from the samples and we’re hav­ing trouble decid­ing which one to bring home with us!

This here is Kyohou & Honey. Kyohou is a black grape pro­duced in Japan known for its size (its name trans­lates to giant moun­tain grape) and very sweet flesh.

There are numer­ous uses for this honey oth­er than as a refresh­ing drink, includ­ing mix­ing with vodka or gin to make a deli­cious cock­tail, pour­ing over yoghurt or ice cream, using it in recipes for jel­lies and sher­bets, or as a spread on bread or pan­cakes. Our usu­al way to enjoy this honey, though, is to mix it in cold water for a refresh­ing cold bever­age.

The recom­men­ded ratio for dilut­ing the honey into a refresh­ing drink is 1:5. At this ratio, the red honey dilutes to a clear golden brown. The notes of the kyo­hou grape are prom­in­ent and very sweet at the head and into the body before a sour note emerges to accom­pany the sweet­ness towards the end of the body and leaves a fresh after­taste. It’s very much like the intense sweet­ness and slight acid­ity you exper­i­ence eat­ing fresh ripe black grapes. Tiny particles float around sus­pen­ded in the cup but do not affect the smooth­ness of the mouth­feel at all. Critically, there are none of the dis­tinct flor­al notes of usu­al honey inter­fer­ing with the grape fla­vour, sug­gest­ing that atten­tion has been paid to pair­ing the fruit juice with the types of flowers the bees pol­lin­ate from.

This Kyohou & Honey is always refresh­ing, but par­tic­u­larly great for sooth­ing a sore throat. It’s enjoy­able at the 1:5 ratio, though D and I prefer a ratio of 1:8 for a mel­low­er sweet­ness with decent grape fla­vour.

This bottle of Sugi Bee Garden Kyohou & Honey con­tained 300 g. It was bottled in Japan and pur­chased in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan in 2014.