Now that Japan is in the Reiwa Era, nostalgia for the Showa Era (and to a growing degree, the recently-ended Heisei Era) continues to be a popular trend in fashion, food and popular culture. When it comes to Showa Era food and drink, one of the focal points has been nostalgia for menu items served in neighborhood cafes known as 純喫茶 jun-kissa.

Alcoholic beverage company 合同酒精株式会社 Gōdō Shusei Co., Ltd., a member of オエノンホールディングス株式会社 Oenon Holdings, Inc. beverage company, has been releasing a line of "nostalgic old-fashioned" (昔懐かしい | mukashi natsukashī) canned cocktails inspired by jun-kissa menu items. As some of our readers may recall, we reviewed their last entry in late August, the "Cola Soda Float Sour."

On October 18th, 2022, they released a new entry, this time based on a beloved dessert often featured in jun-kissa menus, the Fruit "Ponchi."

フルーツポンチ furūtsu ponchi is a non-alcoholic dessert made with various kinds of fruits cut into pieces and served with syrup in a bowl, commonly known in the West as a "fruit cocktail." This is not to be confused with the alcoholic beverage "fruit punch," known in Japan as フルーツパンチ furūtsu panchi, with a difference of one vowel.

A standard fruit ponchi made with canned fruit preserved in syrup | Photo by grape Japan

The most standard version of the Fruit Ponchi contains citrus fruit such as mandarin oranges, oranges or grapefruits, slices of peaches, apples, pineapple, kiwi, and, especially in jun-kissa, cherries preserved in syrup with stems attached. You'll also find versions with little 白玉 shiratama dumpling balls made with glutinous rice flour, and fancy versions with more exotic fruits, various colored jelly cubes, and more.

Of course, we were curious to know how this new cocktail compared to the real thing, so we wasted no time in trying one!

Photo by grape Japan

The can features a retro design with an illustration of a fruit ponchi bowl on a turquoise background and the name of the drink in a font reminiscent of Showa-era signage. On the back, there's an explanation of "fruit ponchi" for young adults who may not be familiar with it. The ingredients list orange, kiwi, pineapple and cherry juice with a vodka base. As soon as we opened it, a sweet, fruity smell wafted up into our nose.

We took a nice tall glass, filled it with ice, and poured in the contents. The tint seemed appropriate for a fruit juice blend.

Photo by grape Japan

As for the taste, we were pleasantly surprised! The orange and pineapple flavors were most prominent, and we thought we recognized the flavor of peaches, even though it doesn't contain any. Perhaps the drink's color, which looks a bit like peach juice, tricked our tastebuds. In any case, it was a delicious blend of fruit flavors, paired with light carbonation. If anything, we would have appreciated a slightly higher dose of alcohol since 3% is rather weak, but it goes down very smoothly.

Photo by grape Japan

On Twitter, people expressed their delight over the announcement, leaving comments such as, "This looks great, I think I'll buy a whole case," "I used to order (fruit ponchi) so I can't wait to try it," and "You can create a grown-up version of 'fruit ponchi' by pouring some into a bowl with fruits and adding some shiratama dumplings!"

A can of 昔懐かしいフルーツポンチサワー mukashi natsukashī furūtsu ponchi sawā costs 174 JPY and is available in stores nationwide wherever canned coktails are sold.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.