We have discussed many drinks here but as far as I know, this classic Japanese spirit has not been explained, or not in any detail.
Of course we have a number of members who reside in Japan including Koji and Ed.
My questions (but feel free to answer in the way you prefer):
- what exactly is shochu?
- what is it made from (rice clearly is an ingredient, are there others?), and how is it distilled? Is there an indigenous Japanese (i.e., non-whisky) still?
- what is the current market for shochu? Is it similar to the market for whisky?
- what are some of the variant drinks, e.g., I understand there is a special type made only on Okinawa, what distinguishes that? Are there other local spirits?
- how is shochu typically consumed? Diluted, straight, with ice? Is it taken in a long drink with ice and water like whisky often is?
- What are some of the well-known brands? What do they taste like?