If you have spent any time in Japan, you have almost surely come across shochu, a very popular type ofthat accompanies everything from cultural celebrations to casual meals.
What is Shochu?
Shochu is a distilled alcohol that is made from a wide variety of base ingredients and is mainly produced in the Kyushu region of Japan, as per a research published by Professor Seki T., Kumamoto University, Japan. Sometimes known as ‘Japanese vodka’ or even ‘Japanese whiskey’, shochu is single distilled, which means that it will taste slightly like whatever ingredient it has been distilled from. This is a very popular in Japan, where it is typically diluted with hot or cold water when served. The content of this is usually around 25%, but some varieties can be as high as 45%. A two-ounce serving of this potent drink has only 35 .
According to research conducted by Professor Megumi Kido, Kagoshima University Graduate of Medical and Sciences, Kagoshima, Japan, shochu is made by the saccharification of starch through by koji and yeast. It is then followed by distillation.
Types of Shochu
There are many different types of this drink, including the following.
- Kome: made from rice
- Imo: made from sweet potato
- Kokuto: made from brown sugar
- Soba: made from buckwheat
- Awamori: made from long-grained rice that is typically high ABV.
- Chuhai: a cocktail made from shochu, soda, and fruit flavoring.
Shochu vs. Soju vs. Sake
Now let us take a look at how these three drinks are different from each other!
- According to a report published by Nicholas Harkness, Department of Anthropology, University, soju is a colorless distilled beverage from Korea that can range in ABV from 16-50%. It is traditionally made from wheat, barley or rice.
- Sake is a rice wine from Japan and can range from 15-40% ABV.
- Shochu is distilled, much like soju, but usually comes with a slightly stronger alcohol content. It can also be distilled from many different ingredients.
How to Make Shochu?
- This alcohol is distilled from a fermented mash that is made from the base ingredient and koji, a mold commonly used in Asian cuisine.
- This type of alcohol can be either single distilled or multiple distilled.
- Once bottled, this strong liquor is aged for anywhere from three months to three years, depending on the distiller. Traditionally, an important element in making this alcohol is where the bottles are aged; caves and tunnels are particularly common.
- Shochu can be served either mixed with water or straight, chilled or at room temperature.