10 ways to drink Japanese whisky: #9, Half Rock

As Japanese whisky makers enjoy their time in the worldwide spotlight, more and more people are waking up to the reality that Japanese consumers may also know a thing or two about the ways to drink Japanese whisky. Of course there’s the izakaya staple whisky highball, but if you dig a bit deeper, you’ll discover there are plenty more interesting ways that Japan drinks their country’s whisky.

A common theme you’ll find about all these choices: one way or another, you add water to the whisky! Japan generally has no hang-ups about putting water in whisky. If you want to drink Japanese whisky like a local, I suggest you give these a try.

In this 10-part series, we dive into each different serving style.

#9 is for the people that want to combine the best parts of the mizuwari with on-the-rocks. “Half rock” basically adds ice to your twice up.

Half Rock

I’ll forgive you if you think this means using half a large chunk of ice, or half of the amount of ice you would normally use for a standard whisky served on-the-rocks. But nah, the “half rock” is instead the halfway point between a regular whisky on-the-rocks and a mizuwari.

What does that mean? Here we basically just make a twice up whisky on the rocks. Easy enough! I’ve not seen the half rock serving style being promoted by any particular brand or company, but its been around for quite a while — it’s a serving style also used in the world of shochu.

The half rock serving style significantly decreases both the temperature and the abv of your whisky. Since a twice up will cut the abv of a whisky in half, adding ice into that will drop it even further. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Perhaps you’ve picked up a cask strength whisky that’s simply too strong to be enjoyed straight?

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