Shochu used to be a second level spirit in Japan. Over the last decade, it emerges as a hip drink and they are now many premium shochu brands available across Japan.
Many things differenciate shochu from sake. First, shochu is a distilled spirit where sake is a brewed rice wine. Shochu is most commonly distilled from barley, sweet potatoes, or rice. The taste of sake is more fruity while shuchu is more nutty or earthy. Shochu typically contains 25% alcohol by volume.
One part of its appeal comes from its low calories. A typical 2-ounce serving of shochu is only 35 calories, which is may less than the 85 calories from sake or the 120 calories from vodka. Shochu is typically served on the rocks or mixed with tea or fruit juice.
I had mine on the rocks but not your typical ice cubes. It was pour on an ice ball. The Japanese invented the ice ball machine to water less their drinks. Part of the appeal for me was to hear the crisp sound that it produces as you pour the alcohol over it on an old-fashioned glass. It’s customary in Japan restaurants to bring the big bottle of shochu or sake at the table where the waiter will pour your drink.
I invite you to share the sound experience of the ice ball with a small video I filmed at a hip restaurant in Tokyo. As you will see, I did not practice my text.
You can buy an ice machine online but it is a true luxury (over $1,000). Beware of the 30 mm ice ball machine as it produces mini balls, which is not the idea.
+ Ice Ball Machine 55 mm $1,072 USD up to $1,782 for the 80 mm ice ball machine