You might have heard of Japanese Sake and Shochu. But do you know what the differences between them are?
ShochuThey’re both Japanese traditional alcohol, but greatly different in materials, producing processes, alcohol contents, ageing and tastes.
Native to Japan, Sake is made solely from rice while Shochu can be made from not only rice, but also some other raw materials such as sweet potatoes, barley, buckwheat, corn, rye, brown sugar, chestnuts, etc, or their combination.
Sake is a brewed alcohol while Shochu is distilled liquor, which also leads to the difference in alcohol contents. Usually Sake is around 15% because most of the fungus stops activity and the alcohol level does not go any further, while Shochu can normally be 20%-25%, even as high as 42% (if multi-distilled).
What’s more, Sake is made to be drunk within a year of its release, while Shochu can improve with ageing.
How to taste?
【Sake】It can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled. It’s the traditional way to serve warm—pour sake into a small open mouthed carafe (Tokkuri), heat it in a hot water bath over very low heat to approximately 110 F, about 5 minutes. Never boil sake, and usage of a microwave oven is not recommended. The cup is poured 75% full just before tasting.
【Shochu】You can drink it drink it straight, on the rocks or with a certain amount of ice and water, or added with warm water. Adding soda water is also a way of drinking known to Japanese as soda-wari. There’s also the other step is to find what goes best with shochu (as regards your personal taste): ginger ale, oolong tea, soda… There is no end to it!
Now you might be interested in which will give you less of a hangover, right?
Seems that Shochu will get you drunk more easily because of the higher alcohol content but the answer is just the opposite as it is thought to be purer due to being multi-distilled.