Shochu is a distilled liquor and is very popular in Japan. Although most non-Japanese recognize sake as the most popular Japanese alcoholic beverages, Shochu is the more consumed beverage in Japan. Nakamata Shuzo, a Shochu distillery with over 100 years history, offers varieties of Shochu with superb seafood dishes in their restaurants/bars located mainly in Ginza and Tsukiji area.
What is Shochu? And Why Nakamata is the best place to try Shochu? Let’s find out.
What is Shochu?
Most people recognize Japanese sake as famous alcoholic beverages from Japan. However, a distilled liquor Shochu is actually more popular than sake to locals. It is consumed more than sake in Japan, according to the National Tax Agency’s data.
Differences between Shochu and sake
There are many differences between Shochu and sake. For example, sake is fermented; on the other hand, Shochu is distilled. Sake is made from rice and Shochu is made from various ingredients such as sweet potatoes, barleys, soba, rice, etc.
The flavor of Shochu is often much drier and clearer when compared to sake. Although the flavor differs depending on ingredients, it is commonly described as “nutty” or “earthy.”
People drink Shochu in a lot of different ways. On its own with nothing added, on the rocks, dilute with cold or hot water, or mix with various drinks such as juice, soda, etc.
The world’s new trend is Shochu
Shochu is getting noticed outside of Japan recently as Shochu bars started to appear in numerous cities around the world. It’s definitely one of the drinks you should try in Japan. Don’t just look for Japanese sake; remember that there is also Shochu!
The next thing you need to know – where should you have your first authentic Shochu experience in Japan?
Try Shochu at “Nakamata Shuzo,” a restaurant/bar owned by a Shochu distillery with over 100 years history
Nakamata Shuzo is a Shochu distillery with over 100 years history in Ibusuki-City, Kagoshima Prefecture. Kagoshima Prefecture is known as one of the biggest producers and consumers of Shochu in Japan.
Nakamata Shuzo makes Shochu carefully in every step: selecting the finest ingredients, processing, preparing, manufacturing, stocking, and bottling. It is obvious they take very much care on the production process as they work manually in most steps from manufacturing, bottling, and investigating the quality. This is to involve experts’ eyes to assure the high quality.
They have a strong commitment to their quality and aim to be a family-like distillery with human heart involved rather than mass production and mass consumption.
Nakamata Shuzo restaurant/bars
Nakamata Shuzo owns a group of restaurant/bars called Nakamata Shuzo group, located mainly in Ginza and Tsukiji. In their restaurant/bars, you can enjoy the highest quality Shochu produced by the distillery Nakamata Shuzo.
Not only they allow Shochu beginners to try different kinds of Shochu casually with their Shochu flights but also offer the very traditional and authentic Kagoshima-style way to drink Shochu.
Nakamata Shuzo offers superb dishes that match well with Shochu
Like Japanese sake, people often drink Shochu during meals. Nakamata Shuzo is a perfect place to have such experience because they offer one-of-a-kind seafood dishes. They are probably the only Nodoguro specialized restaurant in Japan. Nodoguro is called Blackthroat seaperch or rosy seabass in English. It’s considered as one of the most luxurious fish in Japan with its rarity and savory flavors. Nakamata offers this delicious fatty fish in various dishes; sashimi, grilled, boiled, stewed, etc.
The staffs of restaurant/bar Nakamata Shuzo visit the distillery every year in Autumn to participate in making Shochu. As they study about Shochu very well, staffs have deep knowledge of the drinks.
Through their quality of food and drinks and staffs’ hospitalities, the restaurant has great reputations from locals and tourists alike, as they are top 0.6% (approximately) among approx. 860,000 restaurants in all Japan on the largest restaurant review forum in Japan.
“Nakamata Shuzo is very particular about the ingredients of Shochu; we use Kogane-Sengan for potatoes and Yamadanishiki for malted rice. Many distilleries use automation in these days. However, we do most of our Shochu making process manually by hands. Such as cutting potatoes, producing koji, brewing processes, etc. Experienced artisans involve in Shochu making at Nakamata Shuzo.
Also, all staffs of Nakamata group visit distillery every year during the season and help to make Shochu from early morning. Staffs who offer Shochu to customers at restaurant and bars actually participate in making the Shochu. Please visit us and enjoy our Shochu and Nodoguro at Nakamata.” Shinsuke Nakamata, the vice president of Nakamata Shuzo, says.
Doesn’t the restaurant/bar look like a perfect place for your first Shochu experience? Find the nearest branch from the list below and make a reservation tomorrow!
Address: B1, 4-chome-10-12 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo
Ginza Nakamata Hanare
Address: 1F&2F, 3-chome-12-17 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo
Nodoguro No Nakamata Tsukiji
Address: 2-chome-15-15 Tsukiji, Chuo City, Tokyo
Nakamata Shuzo Yakata
Address: 2-chome-18-2 Hatchobori, Chuo City, Tokyo
Nakamata Shuzo Mosuke
Address: 1F, 4-chome-9-9 Hatchobori, Chuo City, Tokyo
Address: B1, 1-chome-9-12 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo
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