kannoko
Kannoko is a single distilled normal pressure mugi shochu aged in oak barrels for 3 years before bottling. The oak gives the shochu its rich golden color and its faintly whiskey flavor. This is one of those aged mugis that whiskey drinkers will find familiar. Read More...
inakaya
Inakaya is in the ground floor of the New York Times building (231 West 40th Street, just past the Muji store off 8th Ave) near Times Square in Manhattan. If that seems like an unlikely place for an izakaya, it is. This robataya is the U.S. outpost of a Roppongi izakaya of the same name. The “tourism” comes in with their presentation. Food is fussily handed to bar customers and the waitstaff via long wooden handled trays across a wide bar that is decorated with today’s fresh ingredients. Oh and the demonstration making mochi rice balls in which… Read More...
tominohozan
Like so many imo shochus, this one has that earthy nose. Fresh dirt. But there’s an added element here. A hint of wild flowers. What makes it unique from other imo shochus is the yellow koji, which gives it much more floral aroma and palate. Tomi No Hozan is even drinkable neat. A buttery mouth feel accompanies the pleasantly sweet floral taste. Oyuwari (hot water) really opens up the flavor, tasting almost like a tea rather than a liquor, though the burn gives away its true nature. Read More...
Soba Ale
  Despite not serving shochu, Rairaiken is one of our favorite ramen shops in New York City’s East Village where ramen shops are as popular as dry cleaners in other neighborhoods. On our last visit they’d added a beer to their menu. At first blush it appears to be a Japanese soba ale direct from Japan. Upon closer inspection, it is Rogue Brewery’s entry into the Japanese Craft Beer craze. It looks to be clearly developed for the Japanese market with Japanese character prominent both on the front label and the back description. Hope that works out for them. So… Read More...
nishi
Nishinomiyako, a kuro koji imo shochu at Rakurakuan in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Mild flavor (for an imo) & went well with a mainly seafood meal. Look for a full review in the future. Of both the shochu and the izakaya!  … Read More...
enma set
We found a surprise in a Narita International Airport (NRT) Duty Free shop – an Enma gift pack from Oimatsu Shuzo Co Ltd. Three 300 ml bottles of mugi shochu in three different varieties. The 900 ml is almost ideal for maximizing your 1 litre limit for U.S. duty free, unlike the usual 720 ml bottles. It also gives you a chance to try three very special shochus (explained below). Enma (閻魔).  Enma is the Buddhist King of the Underworld, so naturally Enma comes in a red bottle with black characters. “The Devil” is made with mugi (barley) and white… Read More...

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