After the first day of orientation, a few other JET’s I’d met (many of whom are also in Minoh with me) and I went looking for a bar to to go to after a long day of training. We decided on a bar called Ben Fiddich, which was only a 4 minute walk away from the hotel we were staying at and had great reviews on Google.
Google Maps led us to Yamatoya building down the street, but there were no signs outside to lead us in the right direction. We wouldn’t have found the place if it weren’t for a bucket at the entrance of the first floor filled with empty bottles that said “Ben Fiddich” on the front, and an arrow pointing up. We walked forward into the building and up a spiral staircase which led us to a wooden door.
Stepping into the bar, I felt like I’d stumbled into an Irish fairytale. The furniture, the lighting, the decor, even the music – everything about the tiny 10-seater bar rang of a 19th century European pub. The bartender spoke English really well AND he was the most adorable bartender I’d ever seen. And of course, he knew everything there was to know about alcohol.
Me and the girls wanted something sweet, so we asked him to surprise us.
He came up with the most unique, fascinating drinks! I don’t remember all of the ingredients, but one had watermelon and mascarpone, another had egg yolk and citrus juice, another had passion fruit and egg white, and another was made with cream and adzuki beans. The six of us passed around the drinks so we could try each and every single one was amazing. Sweet, subtle, perfectly balanced. (The lighting inside the bar wasn’t very good, so my pictures didn’t come out well, but to the right is a picture of the drink with egg yolk and citrus.) After trying each of the drinks, the three girls and I picked our favorite cocktail to keep. My favorite was the one with adzuki beans. The legal drinking age is 20 in Japan, so my adzuki-bean cocktail happened to be my very first legal drink! I couldn’t have chosen a more memorable one at a more memorable location. Definitely a good start to my first year in Japan.
This is the address to the original Ben Fiddich, which is located on the 9th floor of the same building. (The Ben Fiddich we stumbled upon was an extension of the 9th floor location.) If you ever happen to be near Shinjuku station, I highly recommend stopping by either Ben Fiddich location for some high quality drinks. And if you happen to go to the location on the 2nd floor, definitely ask for an adzuki bean-tequila cocktail.