Sommelier Talk – Episode 16 – Reviewing Sake Like a Pro Pt. II

In this episode, I’d like to focus on how to analyze and evaluate Sake characteristics by “Sight”, “Smell” and “Taste”.  By consciously practicing the following three areas of evaluation, anyone can develop sound Sake tasting skill.   1.) By Sight: Examine the transparency, color and viscosity of Sake.  It’s easy to see (a) the cloudiness […]

Discovering Shochu – Episode 13 – Shochu Certified as Japanese National Alcoholic Beverage

On April 15, 2012, the Japanese government officially announced Sake and Shochu as Japan’s National Alcoholic Beverages.   Shochu: Uniquely Japanese   The precise answer to why Shochu is Japan’s National Alcoholic Beverage is that, Shochu is made with ingredients grown and harvested in Japan, and that it uses Koji in the fermentation process, the unique […]

Sommelier Talk: Episode 15 – Reviewing Sake Like a Pro Pt. I

I’m sure that many Japanese restaurant owners, chefs, and mangers have participated in Sake tastings to consider them for sake menu listing.  I’d like to offer some key points when conducting such samplings, so as to help improve tasting skills like a pro, and in turn, to strengthen the Sake menu.   There are three […]

Discovering Shochu: Episode 11 – Honkaku Shochu

Among all distilled liquors of the world, only Honkaku Shochu uses Koji to break down starch into glucose to ferment the Moromi mash.  With hand-crafted artisan Jizake as the national brewed liquor of Japan, Honkaku Shochu is the nation’s distilled version.   Differentiating from other Shochu’s, Honkaku Shochu undergoes single distillation to retain the unique flavor […]

Sommelier Talk: Episode 14 – Improving Sake Menu Selection

In the last few of years, I’ve visited many major cities across the US to promote sake, and during the course of these visits, I’ve learned many things simply from studying the sake menus at restaurants.  While these points may be nothing new, and plain common sense, I share them in hopes of raising enjoyment […]

Discovering Shochu: Episode 9 – Awamori & Kokuto Shochu

Awamori shochu of Okinawa is the oldest form of distilled liquor in Japan, and is known to be the origin of shochu. Among all shochu, Awamori is rather unique.  It uses Thai-harvested long grain rice, and through adding black koji, it converts the entire ingredient base into an all-koji base.  Furthermore, Awamori goes through a […]

Discovering Shochu: Episode 8 – Soba Shochu

TOWARI A unique shochu distilled only from Soba (buckwheat).  Savor the natural and rich flavor of 100% Soba Shochu. Enjoy TOWARI’s authentic flavor and aroma on the rocks, straight or with soba-yu wari soba water (water left in the pot after boiling soba). Distilled & Bottled by:  Takara Shuzo, Miyazaki, Japan 25% Alcohol by volume […]

Discovering Shochu: Episode 7 – Shochu Cocktails

On October 15th, 2011 Mutual Trading held its 23rd annual Japanese Restaurant Show. With respect to the year’s theme, “Japanese Cuisine: Advancing More to Mainstream Popularity,” Shochu booths were set between Food vendor booths – recreating a real life drinking and dining experience for guests. Shochu can be a more affordable offering to guests, as […]