Japanese alcoholic beverages such as sake and shochu are referred to as “kokushu” which means the national liquor. We highlight shochu, distilled spirit.
It is said that the distillation technology was born in the pre-Christian era, and was spread by alchemists. In all parts of the world, distilled liquor using local material was made, and was called “Aquavite” meaning water of life. In Japan, shochu has been made by distilling rice and the materials.
Shochu can be made from a number of materials. Various tastes are born by numerous combinations, depending on the material (sweet potatoes, wheat, rice, sesame, brown sugar and so on) and koji mold (black, white, yellow and so on) used.
They often say that regional liquor is a great match for a local dish. So kakuni (simmered pork) and sweet potato shochu of Kagoshima, yakitori (grilled chicken) and barley shochu from Nagasaki and Oita, or rice shochu from Yamagata are the golden matches. In addition, there is shochu matured in an oak barrel that goes well with smoked dishes, cheese, and Western foods in general.
Japanese Cuisine Yamazato
Sommelier, Masao Okada