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How to make Japanese shochu cocktails

Are you tired of the same old vodka and tequila cocktails? Then try something fun and new – shochu. This classic Japanese liquor has become a popular choice because of its earthy taste and lower calorie content. Versatile for a variety of tasty drinks, shochu could become your new favorite alcohol.


What is shochu?

Shochu is a Japanese alcohol typically made of distilled barley, sweet potatoes or rice. Not to be confused with sake, shochu has a higher alcohol content (about 25 percent by volume) and an earthy taste. Also, it has a lower calorie content then most other liquors.

How can you drink shochu?

Shochu can be mixed in many inventive ways, and can be interchanged with most other liquors. It is typically drunk straight, on the rocks, mixed with water (both hot and cold), combined with tea or fruit juice, or even mixed with beer.

Where can you find shochu?

Although it can still be difficult to find in the United States, the demand for shochu is quickly increasing. It is available in large cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, or Boston, which have specialty food stores. Ask your local liquor store if they can get it for you – liquor distributors in the United States are more frequently carrying shochu. Also, many Japanese restaurants and markets offer shochu.

Shochu cocktail recipes

The Shochuini

Makes 1 serving

3 ounces shochu
2 ounces sake
1-1/2 ounces vodka
Juice of 2 lime wedges (about 1 ounce)
1/2 ounce simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain and serve.

Sweet and Sour Shochu

Makes 1 serving

2 ounces shochu
2-1/2 to 3 tablespoons sweet-and-sour mix
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar
4 ounces club soda
1 lime wedge

Combine shochu, sweet and sour mix, and sugar in a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice. Pour mixture into a cocktail glass and top with club soda and garnish with a lime wedge.

Shochu Melon Citrus Cocktail

Makes 1 serving

3 ounces shochu
3 ounces melon liqueur
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
Orange slice or cherry

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Pour into a cocktail glass. Top with an orange slice or cherry.

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