What is this magical drink?
August 29, 2006 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Help us figure out what this Japanese alcoholic drink is.

The mystery bottle was brought back from Japan by a friend. We think it might be Shochu but we're not sure what kind, or what it's made from, or most importantly, how we should drink it.


posted by geryon to Writing & Language (16 answers total)
It's long-aged "Nayuta-no-toki" (I think that's a brand name) shouchuu.

This particular shouchuu is made from buckwheat.

I got drunk off my rear end on about a thimbleful of shouchuu last New Year's. It's potent stuff.

I have no suggestions about how to drink it, except--carefully.
posted by Jeanne at 6:36 PM on August 29, 2006

Around these parts (Manhattan) they mix that stuff into your standard vodka cocktails in place of vodka or make froofy japanese cocktails with stuff like lychee juice, sake, shochu, etc. Pretty good if you ask me.
posted by ch1x0r at 6:53 PM on August 29, 2006

Shouchuu is a stronger clear liquor that is usually made by distilling sweet potatoes, rice, barley or buckwheat. It can exceed 40% alcohol but usually It can be drunk on the rocks, watered down, or as chuuhai.

From here.
posted by ifranzen at 7:05 PM on August 29, 2006

Chill it, pour it in a glass with some ice, and then add freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. Yum!
posted by gomichild at 7:08 PM on August 29, 2006

i say drink it straight up!

i had shouchuu for the first time a week or so ago. it's so unbelievably smooth! though, yes, very strong. enjoy!
posted by freudianslipper at 7:23 PM on August 29, 2006

During a memorable night bar-hopping in Osaka we mostly drank this straight up in large tumblers, each with a single giant round ice cube which I was told was hand-carved by old Japanese men. Given how hard it is to come by in North America I'd say that anything other than straight-up is a waste... if you mix it you may as well be drinking vodka.
posted by Gortuk at 8:25 PM on August 29, 2006

I'm sorry steal the spotlight, but ifranzen, do you know where one might acquire some chuuhai? I've been looking for that stuff (in California) for some time now.

Oh, and I third or whatever the drinking this straight-up. No mixing.
posted by dihutenosa at 10:25 PM on August 29, 2006

On ice or diluted with ice, I always had it diluted on ice with a lemon slice. I think I`ve drank this brand before but it`s hard to tell.
posted by robofunk at 10:41 PM on August 29, 2006

Ku soju has been made in Korea since the 14th century.
Sweet potato vodka, very tasty .
posted by hortense at 11:18 PM on August 29, 2006

dihutenosa, chuuhai is just the term for cocktail drinks made with shochu. A popular mixer is Calpis/Calpico which you can buy in most Japanese markets in original and peach flavors.

Like ch1xor said, you can sub it in place of vodka in any normal cocktail. However, good shochu is better appreciated like scotch - straight up or on the rocks.
posted by junesix at 1:05 AM on August 30, 2006

MMm calpico and Shochu = Calpico Sour. Oh yeah...
posted by quibx at 6:35 AM on August 30, 2006

Anybody know a place to order it in the US?
posted by Mr. Gunn at 8:42 AM on August 30, 2006

Here's a link to Yahoo! Answers that might help those of you looking to buy chuhai in the United States.
posted by armage at 12:02 PM on August 30, 2006

Some online shochu (Japan) / soju (Korea) vendors: 1 2

Calpico/Calpis here

Essentially any major sake vendor should have a bottle or two of shochu. America is just coming to grips with sake appreciation so shochu/soju are still rather rare. Buying bottled chuuhai is like buying bottled margaritas - it's much better if you buy the ingredients and make it yourself.

If you have a Japanese market nearby, shochu/soju is also quite good with a splash of yuzu juice.
posted by junesix at 12:39 PM on August 30, 2006

By the way, being made from starch it's basically Japanese vodka or that's how it's referred to in the restaurant industry. It's stronger and I think smoother. Love it.
posted by scazza at 1:24 PM on August 30, 2006

The other reason it's so prevalent in New York is that you don't need a special liquor license for it--a beer/wine license will do fine.
posted by j.s.f. at 3:22 AM on September 10, 2006

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