Ginza No Suzume Kohaku
Ginza no Suzume Kohaku may be the first shochu I tried that showed just how diverse and complex this style of spirit can be. Ginza is a barley shochu, much like iichiko, which I consider a super easy drinking, mild, tasty starter-shochu, yet the two couldn’t be more different. Ginza is aged in repurposed American white oak bourbon barrels. This gives the shochu its yellowish tint and oaky, smokey nose and taste. On the pallette it starts with the strangely oaken, earthy flavor that transforms into a sweet caramel. Read More...
Kaido iwai no aka
I've been eyeing Kaido iwai no aka for well over a year. The stunning red bottle is undoubtably alluring and "iwai no aka" refers to the celebratory red color of the bottle. The shochu, however is clear. I remember sitting at an izakaya in midtown Manhattan and watching enviously as a Japanese customer poured from the gorgeous bottle. Read More...
Diced Habanero to Infuse Shochu
Today we’re going to try a recipe – our first – a habanero infused shochu. I needed some use for my leftover  Juhyo Special Suntory, which was nigh well undrinkable in its undiluted form. Apparently I am not the first person to have this idea for salvaging Suntory shochu. I started with fresh, locally sourced habanero peppers, which I was able to procure at the Columbia Greenmarket. I purchased a handful, but only needed one. The others will be used for similar experiments, I’d imagine. I diced the pepper into a small pieces, retaining the seeds (the… Read More...
shochu v soju
More often than not when I introduce Americans to shochu, they almost invariably think I said soju, and unless they're indiscriminate drinkers they're not that interested in trying "soju" again. Like many Americans, I'd heard of Korean soju long before I'd heard of Japanese shochu. I suppose this is because in the U.S. soju is often available in Korean restaurants while shochu is rarely available in Japanese restaurants. Read More...
Jougo Kokuto Shochu
Jougo was my first introduction to “black sugar” shochu. Black sugar is a richer, darker Asian version of western brown sugar. It contains molasses and sugar cane. And it’s delicious. If you can find black sugar in your local Asian market, pick some up and experiment with it as a replacement for other sweeteners. Jougo is smooth, sweet, and rounded. It lacks the complexity of many other shochus, but it’s easy drinking. It’s not as sweet as you’d expect from something distilled from a sugar, which is probably due to the spring water added at the end of the distillation process. Read More...
2011
I’m the last guy you’ll ever see falling for fad diets. I even get annoyed when my friends say, “I’m on a diet.” My attitude has long been that portion control and good eating habits are all it takes to keep the weight off. Obviously this isn’t the case for everyone, but it should work for a majority of us. I’ve never thought of myself as having a weight problem (and I still don’t), but a couple years ago I got Wii Fit. And the very first time I did a “body test” it said, “That’s overweight” when reporting my… Read More...

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