A beverage to rival Sake
Monday the 18th March saw So Restaurant, situated in London’s Soho, play host to the “Honkaku Shochu” tasting event, an evening that aimed to introduce a range of Shochu that Kyushu island, a southern region of Japan, has to offer. Shochu is a distilled beverage that, due to it’s high alcohol content of around 25% and versatility, is extremely popular in Japan, but has yet to gain the same widespread recognition as sake (known as nihonshu) in the West. Whereas sake is a wine made from rice, Shochu is more diverse and can be produced from rice, potato or barley. It’s enjoyed a number of ways, on the rocks, neat or with water. When consumed with cold water the flavour becomes sharper and cleaner, whereas the addition of hot water softens the edge, resulting in a gentler, yet deeper and more rounded flavour. It can be chilled but, unlike vodka which remains unchanged, when frozen will become slightly syrupy. It is also an excellent base for cocktails and the ‘chu-hi’, Shochu on ice topped up with soda, juice or even Chinese Oolong tea, is equivalent to our vodka mixers. Add to all this the proven health benefits, such as being low in both calories and sugar content, it shouldn’t be too long before the word of this amazing tipple reaches British shores.