The floods in the Hitoyoshi region are believed to have killed more than 50 people and damaged or destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. This is deeply personal to us a www.kanpai.us since we count several Hitoyoshi shochu makers as our friends. The damage has spread further over the past week as Kyushu floods continue around the region.
My personal favorite iichiko brand available in the US is iichiko Kurobin. Kurobin is literally translated as "black bottle," which is a pretty on the nose description of this evocative packaging. It is simply too pretty to throw away after finishing.
Kagoshima is the southernmost of the mainland prefectures, located on the south end of Kyushu Island, and about as far as you can get from Tokyo without being in Okinawa. How did this remote place known for Satsuma Imo become so central in the shochu world? Good question. Shochu has a history of about 500 years, so let’s start in the middle.
When I moved to Japan one of my hopes was to start secondary aging Okinawan awamori at home. While it is nearly impossible to source these ceramic pots in the US, it is not that difficult in Japan so long as you are willing to pay. These are typically reserved for long-aged, or kusu awamori (古酒泡盛), which can run hundreds of dollars per liter especially in the traditional decorative ceramic jars, or "kame" (甕).
The Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks has been nominated for a James Beard Book Award in the category Beverage Without Recipes. This is the first book about Japanese alcohol ever nominated for a James Beard Award.
In this new and improved version of our website we are going to get lots of new shochu and awamori information up very soon with new writers including some certified shochu advisors from around the world.