Discovering Shochu: Episode 8 – Soba Shochu
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 (50 proof)
Contrary to common perception, Soba Shochu is smooth and easy to drink, with a gentle aroma and comforting sweetness. It’s the distinct soba aroma and taste that are quite the appeal to many Shochu fans. The very first of its kind is said to have been brewed in Miyazaki Prefecture in 1970, a process found to be rather difficult because Soba does not ferment easily. So, most of today’s Soba Shochu breweries incorporate rice and barley ingredients to help the complex fermentation process along. And depending on the ratios and sources of these ingredients, breweries would aim for their very own, signature Soba Shochu unique from others.
Breaking away from the mold, now, there is an all-100% Soba ingredient Soba Shochu, brewed by Takara Shuzo in Miyazaki Prefecture. Their TOWARI SOBA SHOCHU carries a uniquely-rich, natural flavor highlighting their single Soba ingredient.
Characteristics and Variety of Soba
The history of Soba can be traced back to Yunnan Province in Southwest China, from where it was carried to Japan in the 8th century. Soba cultivated in Japan is an annual plant from the rhubarb family, in the Polygonaceae classification: the genus Fagopyrum tataricum (Tartary Buckwheat). As a plant, Soba has tenacious vitality, can live in soils with low nutrients, and can also be harvested in cold climates. It’s a good and sturdy crop that takes about 75 days from planting to harvesting.
Tartary Buckwheat is bitter, but abundant in rutin which promotes blood circulation and strengthens capillaries. The Japanese were the first to transform buckwheat into a noodle form, consumed by the masses because it’s delicious plus is a cure for many modern day diseases. Soba shops serving Soba Shochu along with their Soba noodles, is a natural match.
Flavor Styles & Recommendations
- Light and Refreshing
Most of Soba Shochu is this type. Can be enjoyed in various ways: straight, on the rocks, oyuwari with a bit of warm water. Great when paired with Soba noodles.
- Savory and Full-Body
Best way to highlight the unique Soba taste, mellow flavor characteristic but lighter compared to other Shochu types. Best enjoyed on the rocks or oyuwari.
Soba Shochu Food Pairing Picks
- Pairs well with broiled, boiled and deep fried dishes.
- Excellent with sweet, spicy and savory aroma dishes.
- Great with cuisine seasoned with soy sauce, miso and hot pepper.
- Excellent with Soba dishes, broiled fish, pork, and chicken.
- Soba Shochu helps subdue the fishy smell of seafoods.