Kouri zatou, "rock sugar" is an ingredient used in making infused liqueurs in Japan, like umeshu. Rock sugar is ideal for this because it dissolves slowly; if the sugar dissolved too fast, it would take longer for the fruit to infuse into the liquor.
Kouri zatou is also a pretty neutral sweetener that allows for the flavor of the fruit to shine through. More assertive sweeteners like honey and black sugar will obviously make the finished product taste different.
|America's rock sugar candy|
|Teavana's rock sugar|
Another example of rock sugar in the states is the sugar beet rock sugar that popular chain tea store, Teavana, offers in many malls as their suggested choice to sweeten their teas.
Recipes that feature kouri zatou: