In recent years, sugar-free shochu and soda is getting popular. Because of an increase in health consciousness and Chuhai (Shochu highball) market has expanded. This way you can easily drink shochu is also popular among young generations.
You can easily enjoy shochu and soda at home. By the way, do you simply think "just add soda to shochu and drink it?" That’s true. But if you pay more attention to shochu or soda, the taste of shochu and soda will change to the better.
So this time I visited a Japan bartender school in Shibuya, Tokyo which has produced a world champion bartender. I asked the principal of the school and 40 years professional bartender Mr. Minoru Saito how to make delicious shochu and soda at home.
Graduates is world champion!More than 40 years professional bartender-Mr. Minoru Saito
Worked at hotel, bar, café
Part-time lecturer at a culinary school
The principal of Japan bartender school & Japan Café School
Former part-time lecturer at Tokyo eiyo shokuryo(nutrition food) vocational school for 10 years
Nippon bartenders association kanto region headquarters deputy branch chief Award best bartender
Pour shochu and soda into the glass of room temperature
Did you know that this way of making is not the right way?
Before I asked about how to make delicious shochu and soda, I also asked him to check how I made my own way.
Writer: I always drink shochu and soda at home. So I think its ok just like I do as usual.
Put ice cubes in the glass of room temperature then pour soda and shochu…I’m sure that there is no problem in this way
Writer: Yes! Finished. How do you think about my shochu and soda?
Mr. Saito : Well…It must be good for liquor lovers. But you cannot make delicious shochu and soda without attention. You only can make delicious shochu and soda with attention to details such as quantity. I’ll tell you about that so please remember…
Pay good attention to the ingredients for delicious shochu and soda
Mr. Saito: Though there is a trick how to make delicious shochu and soda, it also depends on
the ingredients. I think that many people usually just buy shochu and add soda to make shochu and soda, but please pay more attention to shochu and soda when you choose. That’s all, the taste will change a lot.
Well…Mr. Saito pays also attention to the ingredients. What is his suggestion as a bartender with 40 years of experience?
Let’s use Takara Shochu "NIPPON" which suit for shochu and soda
This time, Shochu prepared by Mr. Saito is Takara Shochu "NIPPON" with 3% of cherry barrel aged shochu mixed, use Japanese cherry leaves as an ingredient. A shochu conscious of cherry blossoms.
There are many kinds of shochu. Why did Mr. Saito choose "NIPPON"? The reason is light sweet fragrance just like “sakura mochi (Japanese sweets)” of “NIPPON”.
Mr. Saito: This shohu has unique and nice fragrance. When you use it for shochu and soda, both you can enjoy fragrance and taste. The alcohol content is not so high compared to whisky.
So I recommend it also for female. Good shochu for drinking at home.
Let’s choose soda with less mineral
Then Mr. Saito recommended to choose proper “soda”. You can buy many kinds of soda at supermarket so that you happen to choose a cheap brand. Mr. Saito suggests to pay more attention choosing the soda.
Mr. Saito: When you choose good shochu, you should also choose a suitable soda. I recommend you to choose “soda with less mineral. “ You can more taste shochu when you use soda with less mineral, so I think it’s tastier. Besides you need to cool soda. Carbonic acid will disappear when the temperature goes up.
Use Usuhari(thin glass)
And also Mr. Saito takes good care of glass. Most of people use normal glass when you make
shochu and soda. However professional bartenders using usuhari (thin glass) for mixing shochu and soda. The reason why use thin glass is as follows.
Mr. Saito: You only can enjoy drinking when using an ordinary glass. When you use thin glass, you can enjoy the feeling as if grasping liquid. You can both enjoy taste and visual
of shochu and soda. So please use a thin glass.
Special shochu and soda by professional bartender
“ Once all the good ingredients are in place, just pour it”. You might think so…But professional bartenders also take good care of the order of preparing and presentation.
1.Put ice cubes into the chilled glass
A professional bartender first puts ice cubes into a glass. Though he uses ice pail (container for ice cubes), it's not necessary. Besides you’d better to use a chilled glass.
Mr. Saito: First of all, you need to be careful when putting ice cubes. First put the smallest ice cube. We often put large ice cube first because you think “the big ice seems to get cold sooner”. But it’s not good. If you put large ice cube first, gaps will be created between the cubes in the glass, so the amount cannot be adjusted well.
2.Stir good with cocktail stirrer
After putting ice cubes in the glass, pour Takara Shochu "NIPPON". Then you stir it well with a cocktail stirrer. Shochu becomes tastier with ice cubes. Mr.Saito also said that you should remember that 1 (Shochu): If you are conscious of the proportion of 2 (soda) to making shochu and soda.
Mr. Saito: The old days we said “one finger” ”two fingers”. We measured with fingers the amount of liquor. When you make shochu and soda at home, we happened to pour shochu
just eyeball it. Because ice cubes are already in, you’d better pour the shochu with the “”two fingers " as an aim. After pouring the shochu, you should stir.
By this the ice cubes are better leveled and you can add more ice cubes.
We think “the liquor should be darker” so we often pour a lot of shochu. If you want to drink
more delicious shochu and soda. You’d better to pay good attention to the amount of shochu.
So let's try to pour the shochu with the "two fingers" at home as Mr. Saito recommends.
3. Pour soda slowly along the edge of the glass.
Pour soda after shochu. Be careful not to pour soda from high position. It’s important to pour the soda slowly along the edge of the glass.
Mr. Saito: If you pour soda from some height on the ice cubes it repels soda. It is no exaggeration to say that it is the soda that decides the taste of shochu and soda. So please pour soda slowly and carefully at home.
4. Stir once with cocktail stirrer carefully so that soda doesn’t go flat.
At last, stir shochu and soda carefully with a cocktail stirrer once. Then it’s ready to drink.
Many people stir several times because they think “It’s better mixed well”. The important thing is that stir only one time. If you stir a lot, the soda will go flat. Because of this reason it’s better not to stir a lot.
Mr. Saito also suggested as a bartender “It might be delicious to add tonic water to shochu ”NIPPON” and soda.”
Compare shochu and soda made by professional bartender and by amateur
So, how much difference is it really of the taste between shochu and soda made by 40 years professional bartender and made by amateur? I drank and tried to compare.
Tasting shochu and soda made by professional on the right hand.
Tasting shochu and soda made by me on the left hand.
Writer: Well…Quite different. The shochu and soda that Mr. Saito made is delicious. I can feel strong carbonate and good aroma of shochu. And mine is… I only can taste strong shochu.
It had flat and little aroma of shochu.
Mr. Saito: Only just more think about ingredients and how to make. That’s all you can enjoy more delicious shochu and soda. The person who drinks shochu and soda at home should better to think about the ingredients and how to mix. So that you can drink a better taste shochu & soda.
Although shochu and soft is simply but considerably deeper than you think. It is not “Just add soda to shochu”. Please pay more attention to the ingredients and the making.
By that you can enjoy a more delicious shochu and soda at home.
▼NIPPON SHOCHU MAGAZINE
Source: TAKARA SHUZO CO.,LTD.