Mizuwari: Japanese Whisky Bar Comes to Old Compton Street

Mizuwari, a Japanese whisky bar is located below Soho yakitori joint Bincho. It specialises in ‘rare Japanese whiskies’. This type of bar is the first in London and it is the only bar that is dedicated to Japanese whisky, which has been brewed since 1923 in Japan. The country’s first distillery was inspired by the ancient methods of Scotland but at present, there are eight producers of single malt in Japan. Some people say that although Japanese whisky has many of Scotch complexities, they have a more approachable countenance. The barman in Mizuwari has complete knowledge regarding the whiskies and is helpful in selecting the best Japanese whisky.

The bar also offers some beautifully balanced and stimulating cocktails such as the Risshum with yamazaki 12-year-old, honey plum liqueur and ginger. These are served over hand-cut pieces of crystal-clear ice. Mizuwari is the signature drink which is a refreshing mix of the whisky of your choice along with distilled water, ice and a lemon twist. The bar provides snacks in the form of yakitori from the Bincho grill restaurant upstairs. The skewers of pork belly, chicken gizzard and eel are ideal accompaniments of all the whiskies that are served there. It is also famous for sushi, samurais, Godzilla, Hello Kitty and of course, whisky.

Japan’s first ever whisky distillery was opened in Yamazaki in the 1920s by Shinjiro Torii with the help of the now legendary Masataka Taketsuru, who has now opened London’s first bona fide Japanese whisky joint – Mizuwari in the basement of Soho’s Bincho Yakitori restaurant.

For going to Mizuwari which is an elegant, candlelit basement bar you need to go through the ground floor restaurant and down a dark staircase at the back but once you are there, you will find a smiling bartender standing in front of a huge collection of Japanese whiskies and hand-carving ice balls in the backdrop of an upbeat soundtrack. The bartender has the ‘Basic Instinct’ style and he serves the drinks either neat, highballed, with ice or in a cocktail along with nibbles from the open charcoal grill upstairs. This will be the perfect moment for you to enjoy Japanese whisky while listening to information regarding Shinjiro Torii and the history of Japanese whisky.

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