How to make an oyuwari

The oyuwari is the third part of the Japanese diluted whisky trinity. The other two are the mizuwari, with which we had such fun in warmer months, and "on za roku", which I think you all know how to make (just say it out).The famous naturalist poet Bokusui Wakayama (1885-1928) wrote a short tanka poem about a whisky oyuwari. I won't try to render it into an English poetic form, but an almost literal translation would go something like this:
"Pouring the hot water into whisky,
The fragrance suddenly rises
In the light of a cold white morning."

Oyuwaris and mizuwaris come directly from shochu drinking culture.
"Mizuwari" means "mixed with cold water" and "oyuwari" means "mixed with hot water". As the names suggest, both are exceedingly simple drinks to make. I've seen various whisky oyuwari recipes, ranging from Suntory's 1:3 whisky and hot water ratio to the 3:2 split more usual with shochu, but, as always with these things, it comes down to taste. This is how I make my, slightly stronger than the norm, whisky oyuwari:

Put two parts of freshly boiled water in a cold glass (the ideal temperature is supposed to be 80-85 degrees, which could be roughly achieved by warming the glass in this way and then transferring to a second cold vessel before returning to the glass. I find that method gets luke warm too soon and prefer a hotter starting point.)
Add one part of whisky.
I'll be honest. I didn't expect to like my whisky oyuwari. I expected it to be a poor substitute for a toddy but, in fact, it went down very well. It preserves more of the whisky flavour than a toddy. Perhaps I'll do an Oyuwari Death Match for the winter months, leaving the Mizuwari Death Match for warmer days?

In case you want to search for oyuwari in Japanese: お湯割 (oyuwari), ウィスキー (whisky). (Can`t see it?)


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