Harajuku style, electronics, cars, sushi — there’s so much of Japanese culture that the outside world has embraced wholeheartedly. However, one very significant cultural signpost has stayed well under the radar. Until now, that is.
Just unveiled, Four Fox Sake is set to change the way we think about sake. “People don’t think of it as a regular drink,” says Andrew Rizkalla, one of the “foxes” behind this new, premium beverage. “Everyone knows it, but you have to plan for it. No-one says ‘Let’s go drink gin’, but you don’t just go to a bar and order sake.”
Made in Niigata to the highest standards (it’s classified as junmai daiginjo, the highest grading available), the vision of Four Fox — the brainchild of Rizkalla and three other Hong Kong-based foxes — is simple: to make sake a go-to drink in the same way that vodka and whisky are. Rizkalla and the team identified two main barriers to entry for a lot of would-be sake drinkers — namely, the different grades and classifications that make it hard for a non-Japanese speaker to know what to order, and, perhaps more simply, its lack of availability at a lot of bars and clubs.
As well as being available at some of Hong Kong’s most buzzing bars and clubs (think Play, Boujis and Quinary, where Antonio Lai has curated a collection of Four Fox-based “foxtails” for a limited time), the Four Fox mission is to put the power back into the hands of the drinker.
A lot of the Four Fox cachet is in the bottle design — the sleek, silver bottle represents the story of Inari Okami, the Japanese god of rice, sake, swordsmiths and foxes. “The story is that the foxes were guardians of the torii gates — which are the portals between the earthly and the divine — so that only the purest spirits pass,” says Rizkalla. The bottle also has an LED light-up function, meaning it’s a more than appropriate choice when you’re in a club and making it rain.
Four Fox isn’t just about bringing a centuries-old tradition into the modern day. For Rizkalla, “we want this to hold its own against the vodkas – what we’re trying to do is expand the sake market, to people who wouldn’t have even thought of it. So ideally we can create this whole new market of sake drinkers who don’t even know anything about sake — they just drink Four Fox.”
Four Fox Sake is available now from Liquor and Liqueur for HK$530.