Thursday, 3 March 2011

postheadericon Shochu: The Spirit of Japan


Last Friday Shiki traveled down to London to supply the catering for a special Shochu-tasting event at the Japanese Embassy in association with The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).

Shiki prepared a selection of Nagasaki-inspired food for the occasion.

Japanese Shochu (焼酎)is a traditional alcoholic beverage distilled from many sources such as rice, barley, sweet potato, brown sugar and soba, ensuring rich variety in terms of body and flavour. The Shochu on offer at this event hailed from the warmer and actively volcanic southern island of Kyushu and JETRO staff were on hand to talk guests through the many individual varieties.

The liquor has a character somewhere between wine/sake and stronger spirits such as vodka and whisky (Shochu typically has around 25% abv). It can be drunk on the rocks, neat, as part of a cocktail, or mixed with hot water.

Shochu is considered to be a fairly healthy alternative to other alcoholic drinks, given the purity of the distillation process and lack of calories - when enjoyed responsibly, of course! A good Shochu is also said to give less of a hangover (one particular variety, Oni Taoshi or 'Demon Queller' claims to be particularly effective at this).

One of Shiki's favourites, Ikikko (壱岐っ娘), pictured above, was on display at the Shiki table. A range of Shochu is available from the Japan Centre (some by mail order).

If you're interested in trying Shochu with your meal at Shiki, please ask our staff. We'll be more than happy to advise you!

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