No, there's nothing wrong with your monitor or my camera's white balance. The bottle on the left, Satsuma Otome, is a lovely pink shade that looks as if heavier pink liquid has settled toward the bottom of the bottle. This light (20% ABV) sweet potato shochu is squarely targeted at the burgeoning female shochu drinkers market. It's a lovely bottle and unlike anything I've seen here in the states with gender-specific marketing of shochu. Read More...
Tenpai is an unexpected treat. A mugi shochu, which from previous experience we'd expect a light, neutral flavor like Yokaichi or a rich, sweetly whiskey note like Kannoko if aged in oak barrels. Tenpai defies both of those expectations. Read More...
Without fully experiencing the coldest season of the year, we are already stepping into the month of March. Nevertheless, Shinji Mizutani of 1 or 8 has decided to offer a proper farewell to winter anyway. Before welcoming spring, 1 or 8 is having a 3-day warmed sake (nurukan) tasting event. Read More...
There are some restaurants that are destinations and others that are comfortable neighborhood joints where you feel like a local even if you're not. Menchanko-Tei 55 falls into the latter category. It's a narrow izakaya in a nondescript area of Midtown Manhattan. The appeal is that it is situated in a relative food desert for good Japanese, several blocks away from any other restaurant of note with the exception of Katsu Hana (upstairs from Menchankto-Tei). The varnished wood walls give the place a warm feeling with its semi-open kitchen along one side. Read More...
Kikaijima is a small island just north of Okinawa. This is as close as you can get to Awamori country without making Awamori. As such, Kikaijima Kurochu, or "Kikai Island Black Kiss" is an aged black sugar, black koji shochu with all of the rich characteristics you'd expect from the southern islands. Read More...
Just the title of this piece strikes me as odd. What is a shochu drinking champion? Fortunately for our livers, it's not the person who can drink the most shochu, but rather the person who can successfully match the most shochus from memory. And last week saw the crowning of the 1st ever New York Shochu Contest champion. Before we get to the winner, let's talk a little bit about the 1st Annual Shochu & Awamori Tasting Contest. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not an impartial observer. I was also a contestant. Read More...

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