In our earlier blog post we have talked about some of the basics of shochu (焼酎) like the difference between sake and shochu and the different types of shochu available. Here, we are going to show you how to enjoy your shochu to the fullest. Even though there are many ways to drink shochu according to your own taste preferences, we are going to show you a few popular ways of drinking them.
Straight (or neat)
Drinking shochu straight, or neat, is one of the best way to enjoy the real taste of distilled shochu. Shochu being a distilled drink, can be drunk as it is and it does not to be chilled. However, you may also try it at different temperatures whereby you might see how the nuance of the drink changes at the varying different temperatures. In general, if the shochu has a cleaner taste, it should be chilled while a rich tasting shochu can be drunk at room temperature. We recommend a glass of cold water by your side to cleanse your palate or as a chaser. Drinking shochu straight would be recommended for single distilled shochu (imo, kome and mugi shochu).
On the rocks
Unsurprisingly, drinking shochu on the rocks is actually one of the most popular way to enjoy Japanese shochu. Great for a hot day, especially here in sunny Singapore. Simply place ice in the glass and pour in your favourite shochu. The melting of ice helps to bring out the unique sweet scent of shochu that might not be present when drank on its own. If you do not wish your shochu to be too diluted, do note not to let your ice melt too much. Tip: ice should not be made with tap water, make it with boiled water or mineral water for best results.
We would recommend drinking shochu on the rocks for mugi or kokuto shochu, but generally great of all types of shochu.