Updated: November 06, 2018
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Shochu, Taste The Japanese Spirit!

Shochu (焼酎) is a kind of Japanese alcohol which can be described as Japanese spirit (liquor). Shochu is as popular as sake in Japan and it is also a kind of alcohol which has been loved by all Japanese drunkards! You can't find anywhere else in the world a kind of alcohol like shochu! Let's give it a try!

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What is Shochu (焼酎)...?

Shochu is a Japanese distilled spirit beverage which contains about 25 to almost up to around 40% of alcohol. Unlike sake, which is a brewed alcohol made from rice only, shochu is made from many kinds of ingredients such as Japanese sweet potatoes, barley, rice, and buckwheat.

Its unique taste and high alcohol by volume content (usually around 25%) have been the reasons why Japanese drunkards have loved it for decades!

Shochu was originally made in the Kyushu region, but nowadays it is produced in all locations throughout Japan.

You can enjoy shochu just like whiskeys and any other kinds of spirit, for instance, on the rock, diluted with water, with soda, and it even be mixed with Japanese teas to make a true Japanese cocktail!

Varieties of Shochu


Imoshochu (芋焼酎): Sweet potato shochu

Distilled from sweet potatoes, imoshochu used to be a typical kind of shochu which was only produced in Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefecture, where sweet potatoes have been widely cultivated from the Edo period. Nowadays, imoshochu is made all over the country.

You can easily distinguish imochochu from the other kinds of shochu because imoshochu has a really strong smell and taste.

Mugishochu (麦焼酎): Barley shochu

Mugishochu is a type of shochu which is distilled from barley. Compared to Imoshochu, it has a smoother taste and less sharp smell and is overall easier to drink.

Sometimes, mugishochu can be cask-aged which gives it a sharp flavor and taste similar to a single-malt whiskey.

Komeshochu (米焼酎): Rice shochu

Sharing its main ingredient (rice) with Japanese sake, komeshochu is also produced in the regions which are famous for sake production.

Komeshochu has a strong, deep taste that is very addictive to some!

Sobashochu (そば焼酎): Buckwheat shochu

Sobashochu is one of the most unique and young types of shochu. It's origin only goes back to 1973. It's made by the Unkai brewery.

Go visit any soba restaurant if you want to try some sobashochu. They taste milder than any other types of shochu and are easy to drink.


Only produced in Okinawa, awamori is a regional kind of komeshochu, which is distilled from Indica rice. The characteristics are the high alcohol content which sometimes goes as high as 40%! That's about as high as whiskey!

Just so many ways to enjoy shochu!

There are so many ways you can enjoy shochu that it takes time to find your favorite style! Just like whiskeys and vodka, drinking shochu straight is fine. During the hot summer seasons, on the rock styles really cool you down. On the other hand, for a shivering winter season, shochu can be drunk hot.

At Izakaya and bars, they can serve you some shochu cocktails. To list a few popular drinks, lemon shochu (shochu soda with some lemon), green tea high (shochu with green tea), and oolong high (shochu with oolong tea). Basically, shochu can be added to almost any kind of your favorite drink to add some alcoholic atmosphere.
Quite sure I'm a Ramen freak. Almost up to 200ramens in 2017. Not only ramens but also love to eat around and drink around.

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