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Dear Alice,

Recently, while conducting some, uh, research into Japanese alcoholic beverages, I was surprised to notice that the alcohol content of canned chuhai cocktails varies significantly by flavor. The grape-flavored chuhai I was imbibing contained 5 percent alcohol, while the lemon version of the same brand packed appreciably more punch at 7 percent. What the heck is that? And while you ‘re at it, what the heck is a chuhai? The nomenclature seems to cover a huge range of drinks, but darned if I know what’s in ’em.

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