Shochu Guide: Ways to Drink Shochu

Sake Inn Japanese Shochu Beginner's Guide | Ways to drink shochu

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)

Sake Inn Japanese Shochu Beginner's Guide | Ways to drink shochu - straight

Drinking shochu straight, or neat, is one of the best ways 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

Sake Inn Japanese Shochu Beginner's Guide | Ways to drink shochu - on the rocks

Unsurprisingly, drinking shochu on the rocks is actually one of the most popular ways 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.

With water

Sake Inn Japanese Shochu Beginner's Guide | Ways to drink shochu - with water

Also known as Mizuwari  (水割り) or 'cut with water', mizuwari a popular way of drinking spirits, not just shochu, in Japan. Typically, three parts of shochu is mixed with two parts of water (cold or room temperature), however, the amount of water is up to you really. Pour in shochu in your glass before adding water accordingly. This is because the denser water would mix naturally with the shochu in the glass, but we do recommend stirring after regardless. 

The mizuwari way of drinking would be great with mugi shochu. Some people do mix it with water overnight as it produces a milder taste, you can experiment with different ways in order to enjoy your shochu to the fullest.

With hot water 

Sake Inn Japanese Shochu Beginner's Guide | Ways to drink shochu - with hot water
Also known as Oyuwari (お湯割) or 'cut with hot water' is great for people who would want to enjoy the flavour and aromatic characteristics of single-distilled shochu. Served similar to the mizuwari way, except hot water is added first rather than the shochu and this is an important step to take note of. This allows the shochu and water to be mixed more evenly. The amount of water to add is completely up to you but we would still recommend three parts shochu to two parts water. Oyuwari is recommended for imo shochu.
Do also check out our Shochu Guide: Basics to know more about this unique Japanese alcoholic drink. Let us know what is your favourite way of drinking shochu or hopefully you found a new favourite way of drinking it after our blog :-) Kanpai!

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