Shochu Tuesdays at SakaMai



Shochu Tuesdays have a new home at SakaMai. If you’ve been following the site for a while, you know that these started at Izakaya Ten back in 2008 when I first discovered shochu. The experience stuck with me and corrupted me in ways I didn’t expect.

This journey has lead me to guest bartending at SakaMai, a Japanese concept restaurant in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, that has been receiving great reviews from the NY Timeslegendary food critic Gael Greene, and others. Their events manager approached me a few months back about developing a shochu program and have been developing similar sake program with Timothy Sullivan of Urban Sake.

The program has consisted of shochu list curation, food pairing experiments, and most recently, guest bartending. I’ve never worked a day in the food industry in my life, so this has been quite a learning experience, and yet the more I do it, the more I enjoy it. The initial anxiety has worn off and I’m finding my comfort zone. Some regulars have begun to appear and I really enjoy helping people experience a shochu for the first time.

Every Tuesday I select 3 shochus that we pour at “happy hour prices” … $5 a glass, more if one of them is a premium shochu ($9/glass for iichiko frasco is still a bargain). We’d started out with 6-8pm, but have been playing around with times. Now we’re going 7-9 so we’ll see how that works out.

On weeks I can’t make it, Seikai Ishizuka, the “real” shochu tasting contest champion, will be pouring his own selections and sharing the soul of shochu as only a native of Kyushu (home of shochu production) could. His debut is July 23rd (this coming Tuesday). I’ll be there in support, but thought I’d take a break and give him a chance to try it out.

Please stop by any Tuesday, but keep an eye on this site, twitter, facebook, or SakaMai’s site for changes in the start and end times.


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  1. […] of full disclosure, I now guest bar tend weekly on Tuesday nights at Sakamai from 7-9pm for Shochu Tuesdays. That said, I believe this review would have been written even if I wasn’t friendly with the […]

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