If you’re looking to step outside your comfort zone with a unique kind of drink they you can’t go wrong with shochu. Japan’s national spirit is made with a smorgasbord of different ingredients, with one of the most interesting being sesame seeds.
Beniotome Red Maiden Black is the first sesame shochu I’ve tried and it’s one of the most multifaceted drinks I’ve come across on my shochu journey so far.
Japan is known for having a unique drinking culture, best represented by sake/nihonshu in the west. But to leave out Japan’s national spirit, shochu, would be a massive disservice to the distillers who work tirelessly to produce one of the most versatile drinks in the world.
Education about shochu and its older cousin awamori is still lacking in western culture. But to help people learn more about it, Yamato Magazine has provided a glossary of essential shochu terms.
The Kokoro Files shares the stories of people and their connection to Japan, and this edition is particularly exciting for me because I had the opportunity to chat with one of the world’s leading authorities on shochu, Chris Pellegrini. A Japanese spirit evangelist, Chris is passionate about spreading the gospel of shochu and awamori. He definitely made a convert out of me!
From talking shochu 101, to clearing up the differences between shochu and Korean soju, we cover a lot of ground in this interview. Read on to discover the exciting world of Japan’s indigenous spirit. Who knows? By the time you’ve finished reading you might be ready to jump down the rabbit hole.
Since being bitten by the shochu bug, I’ve been on a mission to try as many different types of Japan’s national spirit as possible. From sweet potato to barley, the base ingredients of shochu are as diverse as the breweries that produce such a fine drink.
Experiencing a new culture through the lens of food and drink is a great way to connect to a different part of the world without having to hop on a plane. If you ever plan to travel to Okinawa, it’s worth knowing about the island’s indigenous spirit awamori and its importance to local history.
Shochu is one of the most unique spirits on the planet because of the variety of ingredients that it’s made from and distinctive flavour profiles. Whether it’s imo (sweet potato) or mugi (barley) shochu, you’re guaranteed a different drinking experience from each spirit that you try.
Japanese spirits like awamori have some of the most unique brewing methods and flavours profiles to be found anywhere on the planet. Awamori comes from Okinawa and packs more of a punch than nihonshu and shochu with an ABV that ranges from between 30% – 43%.