Shochu...

sodo still
Using all Washington state local ingredients save koji imported from Japan and ginger from warmer climes, Mr. and Mrs. Sheehan have begun making small batch, hand-crafted barley shochu in a beautiful copper still. To save on man power and elbow grease the still is elevated on a platform above the distillery floor to make cleaning easier, letting gravity do much of the work. Read More...

omoyashuzo
Arriving under threat of rain (June is rainy season in Japan), but not typhoon conditions, the first stop in Iki was the smallest distillery in Iki, Omoya Shuzo. Just 11 shochu producers currently exist in Iki and Omoya-san is the only tezukuri (handmade) distillery left on the island. Due to the demand for the light, clean flavors and aromas of barley shochu throughout Japan, handmade production is not always possible. Read More...

satoh
In the US, Satoh Kuro is simply known as "Satoh" as none of the distillery's other product lines reach our shores. In Japan, their national premium labels are Satoh Kuro (black koji sweet potato, Satoh Shiro (white koji sweet potato), and Satoh Mugi (barley). All are delicious, but only Kuro comes Stateside. Read More...

yamanomori
Yamanomori is as old school as they come among shochus imported to the U.S. Made using the traditional atmospheric (unpressurized) pot still, black koji to impart a rich earthy undertone, little if any filtration, and the very traditional 2:1 ratio of barley to rice, Yamanomori is a taste from the past. Much richer, bolder, and more exotic than most any other barley shochu that comes to our shores, Yamanomori is unapologetically an "old man's" (oji-san) shochu. Read More...

pellegrini
I've never missed a flight before in my life, but this time was different. Not only did I miss my return flight from Tokyo to NYC, but I woke up after my flight had left. That's what I get for having an izakaya crawl the night before a 6:50am departure. Missing a flight is never a good thing, but hoping to make the most of it I had one more night in Tokyo, which many would agree is the top culinary city in the world. Read More...

photo 4
During my stay in Kagoshima in October 2013, Tekkan Wakamatsu, the toji at Yamato Zakura Shuzo, where I did my internship, told me about a legendary izakaya in downtown Kagoshima City where the owners was an "ancient magician" (Tekkan-san may have said "a yoda", as he's fond of Star Wars references) in the art of "maewari" shochu. Read More...

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