Traditional Japanese New Year Drink: O-Toso

Traditional Japanese New Year Drink: O-Toso

O-toso is a drink that is enjoyed on New Year's Day to wish for health and longevity. These days, O-toso can refer to drinking standard Japanese sake (rice wine). Originally, the beverage was made up of 5–10 ingredients.

Before drinking O-toso, it is customary to cleanse one's hands with the first water drawn on the morning of New Year's Day, thank the Gods, and finish the New Year's celebrations with your family. O-toso is also served before eating New Year dishes.

Formally, one would put the O-toso in a Choshi (sake pot) as shown in the above picture and pour it into the sake cup on your left. When the whole family is ready, the house owner will pour the sake to the younger ones.

Since three is a lucky number, O-tosu would be poured into one cup in three divided doses and drunk in three mouthfuls. Nowadays, many families dispense with such details and simply toast with a cup and drink together.

Why not try O-toso to wish for health and longevity with your family this coming New Year's?


Photo by Midorisyu via Flickr