About Shochu

About Shochu
Shochu is a distilled beverage from Japan that is made from either barley, buckwheat, sweet potatoes or rice. The alcoholic content is generally 25%, although a shochu that is multi-distilled can be as high as 35%. It is normally consumed on its own or on the rocks or sometimes with fruit juice.

Shochu can be aged in various vessels, including steel tanks, wooden barrels or clay pots. The flavors will depend on which type of vessel was used; flavors and aroma vary from pastry dough to roasted chestnuts to fruit cake. Some have an earthy, grassy finish, while others are more like aged whisky.

Top Picks for Shochu

Kirishima Shuzo Akane Kirishima
93 points
$21.99
Best Buy
Brilliant clear color. Fruity, floral, attractive aromas and flavors of violet candies, rosewood, fresh panettone with lady grey tea, fruit stripe gum and fruit loops, and pear blossoms with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a polished, nuanced, long tropical fruit salad, papaya-lychee milkshake, and asian coconut water finish. An ultra-floral botanical garden of a shochu with endless cocktail possibilities; mix as pisco or gin.
Awards: 2017 Best Shochu
93 points $21.99 Best Buy
Gekkeikan Bizan Barley Shochu
92 points
$24.99
Brilliant clear color. Earthy aromas and flavors of wax and parchment paper, moss, plum water, and yeasty dough with a silky, soft, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, appealing, medium-length powdered sugar, rice licorice candy, and date finish. A clean, food-friendly and lengthy shochu that is a delight to sip; white wine drinkers will love this elegant shochu.
92 points $24.99
Tori Kai Shochu
92 points
$39.99
Clear with a platinum blue cast. Exotic, tropical aromas and flavors of Asian pear, overripe pineapple, banana-papaya custard, and white chocolate mint with a satiny, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and a tingling, elegant, medium-long starfruit and radish, rice pudding, and hint of fennel finish. An exotically flavorful shochu with lots of Daiginjo sake-like qualities.
92 points $39.99
Kirishima Shuzo Kuro Kirishima
91 points
$19.99
Best Buy
Brilliant clear color. Savory aromas and flavors of chestnuts and mushroom on the forest floor, frosted shredded wheat cereal, roasted shallot, and dill and pickling spices with a round, bright, dry-yet-fruity light body and a tingling, complex, long horchata, radish, damson plum, and taro root pudding finish. A superb shochu with delicate waves of complex sweet and savory flavors.
91 points $19.99 Best Buy
Gekkeikan Sweet Potato Shochu
91 points
$24.99
Brilliant clear color. Green, savory aromas and flavors of garlic and chive, roasted chestnut, and pickled cucumber with a satiny, bright, dryish medium body and an even, captivating, medium-long rosehip, dried yellow plum, and gelatin candy finish. A great savory shochu with a delightful range of flavors that will be fun to experiment with in cocktails.
91 points $24.99
Watanabe Sake Brewing Co. Kuramoto No Kakushishochu
91 points
$15
Best Buy
Clear color. Tropical, toasty aromas and flavors of Asian pear, roasted pineapple and rice, toasty nut brittle, and hint of beeswax and clay with a silky, soft, dryish light-to-medium body and a seamless, amusing, medium-length anise seed, powdered milk, and limestone finish. An elegant, fruity, and toasty shochu that has a pleasing combination of sake and white whisky tones.
91 points $15 Best Buy
iichiko Frasco
90 points
$50
Bright clear color. Yeasty aromas of overripe tropical fruits, yeasty banana bread dough, roasted nuts, and strawberry milk with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-long vanilla rice pudding and milk, honeyed cucumber and sweet potato, and hint of pepper finish. A powerful and layered shochu.
Kirishima Shuzo Shiro Kirishima
89 points
$19.99
Best Buy
Brilliant clear color. Aromas and flavors of singed herbs and leeks, dusty potato skin, mustard seed, and soy rice cake with a soft, dry-yet-fruity light body and a tingling, breezy citrus rice candy, tapioca, radish, dried ginger, and ginseng and mushroom finish. A delicate savory shochu with a nice tingle for carefree sipping.
89 points $19.99 Best Buy
Kirishima Shuzo Aka Kirishima
88 points
$21.99
Brilliant clear color. Aromas and flavors of fondant, dried cherry and fig, hot breakfast rice porridge with cream, and suede scented candle wax with a silky, soft, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length starfruit and pineapple in cream, radish sprouts, red bean ice cream, and white pepper finish. A nice buoyant, lively shochu that will be versatile; a nice introduction to the category.
88 points $21.99
iichiko Silhouette
88 points
$24
Bright clear color. Aromas and flavors of fermenting Asian pear, ground nuts, and hint of fennel with a silky, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and an effortless, appealing, medium-length melon in rice milk and rice candy wrapper finish. A flavorful well made shochu.