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Shochu: (Japan) Made from Sweet Potatoes

November 06, 2012
Group owner Richard Martine


Shochu: (Japan) Made from Sweet Potatoes

By: Richard Martine   Post Date : November 06, 2012
Shochu is a Japanese Alcohol beverage that is distilled from sweet potatoes and has a typical Alcohol content of 25%. Sometimes the alcohol content can be as high as 42% or even more, and the drink can also be distilled from barley, rice, and buckwheat. It has a very light and clean taste to most.

Approximately 500 years ago, shochu was first produced in Japan almost immediately after China introduced the distillation process to the country. The name shochu means "burned liquor" and this is reference to how it is produced. Several vegetables and carbohydrates, including wheat, rice, and molasses, are distilled and then fermented. Shochu is appealing to many people and age groups because of the huge variety of materials that are used to make the drink, which also means several flavors. Imo-jucho is quite popular and is made using sweet potatoes. It is typically stronger than most shochu while kome-jucho, made from rice, is milder.

Shochu is often confused or mistake for Japanese sake. The two, however, are indeed very different. The word "sake" refers to all Alcohol beverages in general across the country, but it also refers to a specific drink in western and southern regions of Japan. This specific drink is a brewed wine made using rice and it has a nutty taste in comparison to the fruit flavor of shochu. Both drinks are indigenous to Japan and are quite popular, which is why they are often mistaken for one another. They are different, basically, because sake is brewed while shochu is distilled. In addition, shochu can be distilled in warm regions while sake must be brewed in relatively low temperatures.

The weather and climate, in fact, are mainly attributed to the development of shochu. Shochu was first produced on the western part of the island of Honshu and the island Kyushu. These parts of Japan have warm weather that is much warmer than the rest of the country's climate. Today the drink is produced all across Japan.

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