What Is Shochu?
Unlike brewed beverages such as beer, wine and sake, shochu belongs in the category of distilled liquors. In the process of making shochu, alcohol and water become separated by the application of heat (this can be done at various temperature ranges), thus increasing the percentage of alcohol. Whiskey and vodka are among the other liquors created by distilling.
What Is Honkaku(single distilled) Shochu?
Distilled liquors in general go through multiple rounds of distillation to achieve higher concentrations of alcohol and to remove any impurities. Honkaku Shochu, on the other hand, is made in only a single distillation. This simple method makes it possible for the final product to retain the unique aroma and flavor of its key ingredients: Sweet potatoes (Japanese yam), soba (buckwheat), rice and barley. For this very reason, using the highest quality varieties of these essential components is a decisive factor in ensuring an excellent shochu. Honkaku shochu is the variety of shochu most popular in Japan today.
Does Shochu Have Health Benefits?
It is believed by many that shochu is low calorie drink that comes with various health benefits. But this idea needs a little more explanation. Having a relatively high alcoholic content, shochu actually has more calories per ounce than sake or beer. However, many of these calories supposedly do not remain in our bodies very long due to the low sugar level of the liquor. As to the health benefits, it is thought that many varieties of alcohol offer some health benefits if consumed in moderation.
The Main Appeal of Shochu
The delicate aroma of roasted sweet potatoes or wheat goes well with all kinds of food. Also, shochu does not have a strong aftertaste because of its low sugar content. Shochu’s main appeal lies in its versatility and smooth taste. Have some honkaku shochu either diluted with hot water or on the rocks and enjoy its charms to its fullest.
So far the main appeal of shochu has been described from the consumers’ point of view. When seen from the sellers’ (or the restaurants’) perspective, shochu has many good points also. Shochu is much easier to handle and store than sake. Unlike some types of sake, shochu does not need to be refrigerated. And compared with sake, shochu lasts much longer after a bottle has been opened. When you feel a bit tired of sake, try some shochu for a change. You will certainly find it refreshing.
-Recommendation of Brands: Iichiko Seirin, Ginza no Suzume, Kurouma, Yokaichi Mugi, Kakushigura