Shochu is one of my favourite spirits and the amount of ingredients that can be used to make it is one of its main appeals. On my shochu journey I’ve tried sweet potato, rice, barley, kokuto (brown sugar) and a category that’s blown my mind recently is soba (buckwheat).
Specifically, Takara towari soba shochu blew my mind because of how good it tastes and here are my thoughts.
Being in a bar or a restaurant is transformative. Venues like that are an intersection of new cultures, communication, excitement and storytelling. Drinks play a vital role in creating these experiences, with Japanese drinks like sake and shochu elevating nights out, intimate lunches and conversations with friends.
Sake is one of my favourite drinks. But it’s not the only thing that floats my boat. I’m pleased to announce the launch of Drink To That, a newsletter for imbibing knowledge, celebrating the hospitality industry and providing content marketing tips for drink brands.
In terms of ingredients, shochu may well be the most diverse spirit on the planet. Japan’s best kept secret can be made from lots of unusual substances. I’ve gravitated to more niche varieties of shochu and Tantakatan shiso comfortably sits in that camp.
A shochu with a fishy tale behind it, there’s a lot to enjoy about this delightful drink.
They say some drinks are an acquired taste and with shochu that rings true. Because once you’ve developed a taste for Japan’s national spirit, you’ll fall down the rabbit hole and want to discover as many varietals as your hands and wallet will allow.
One of the latest drinks I’ve tasted on my shochu odyssey is Kaido blue from the Hamada Syuzou distillery, which is also responsible for the glorious Daiyame sweet potato shochu.
Japanese spirits like shochu aren’t that well-known in Western countries. But when you develop a taste for shochu, it’s easy to disappear down the rabbit hole and drinking the spirit has inspired the creation of a spirit for my horror world of The Frontier.
No matter where you come from on The Frontier, alcohol is the great equaliser, playing a vital role in religion, politics and everyday life. The same goes for the kamuni, who use alcohol as a way to be closer to their beliefs, celebrate and mark important milestones.
A popular drink within kamuni culture is burash, a type of spirit that can be made from several ingredients and has a huge range of flavour profiles.
There’s something magical about cocktails. A story to tell, new ingredients to mix, cultures to share with a wider audience. Japanese cocktail culture has an incredible amount of creativity, from the way certain drinks are made, to the passion of every bartender and mixologist who puts a new concoction in front of their guests.
It’s that kind of energy that’s inspired me to try coming up with my own cocktails. Introducing Wabi-Sabi, a cocktail that taps into the philosophy of transience as viewed through Japanese culture.
The world of Japanese spirits is truly fascinating, as it taps into centuries of tradition, culture and craftsmanship. Awamori channels all of those aspects into liquid form, as unique as Okinawa.
All of the awamori distilleries in Okinawa are passionate about sharing their products and one of the most innovative brands is Chuko, who’ve created the awesome Yokka Koji awamori. I was recently able to get my hands on a bottle of the stuff and it blew me away.
When it comes to sake, there’s something magical about drinking Japan’s national drink. The same can be said for shochu, which is produced from a huge range of ingredients that create different flavour profiles.
Geralt of Rivia is a character who’d develop a taste for shochu and here’s a Flights Of Fantasy edition that showcases the kind of styles The White Wolf would enjoy.
Japanese spirits are steadily increasing in popularity, with more consumers being willing to try new drinks and learn about the history of the beverages. Despite this, there is still a lack of awareness about what makes spirits like shochu and awamori unique, especially the latter.
Awamori is generally lumped into the shochu category, but it stands alone with its own special history and importance. With that in mind, here are six amazing facts about awamori to demystify this ancient spirit.