A young woman was seated at the counter, her long hair tumbling down to her shoulders and resting softly on her beige jacket. In a matching skirt and heels, her long slim legs were revealed. Classy and elegant, she looked like she was ready for a glass of Dom Perignon.

But then, when the bartender came to take her order, she leaned forward and asked for shochu -- on the rocks.

Even just a few years ago, this would have been shocking. Shochu used to be a drink of choice for oyaji (old men) in loud izakaya pubs, where they would gulp down their liquor mixed with hot water and ume plums with their ties loosened and their sleeves rolled up. Now, though, drinking shochu has become chic -- with a twist that's neither lemon nor lime.