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The Japanese Shochu Guide; How To Enjoy Shochu Like The Japanese

how to enjoy shochu like a japanese Food & Recipes

I talked about Japanese Shochu basics in this post, and I am sure you’ve learned enough about what’s Japanese shochu, the types of Shochu, tastes of Shochu differs depending on the raw materials.

Shochu has been rooted in the Japanese drinking culture and the Japanese have created various ways to drink it.

Besides, it is a kind of alcohol that you can enjoy in various ways like other distilled spirits, despite the traditional Sake is no way to mix with other liquids.

This distilled spirit can be an easy-drinking, around 20-25% alcohol content-it’s almost half content level from Vodka, Gin, and Whiskey!

Drinking in Japan is very fun as you know, we have various ways to enjoy a fun time at Izakayas, bars, maybe Karaoke. If you know how to drink Shochu in this article, you’ll easily make Izakaya-buddies for your next trip!

In this article, I am going to introduce popular but authentic ways to enjoy “Shochu” in Japan.

If you are a Shochu beginner, start with “Mugi” barley shochu or “Kome” rice Sochu, since these shochu are clear, light, and smooth flavors.

If you like “Potato Vodka”, you may already be ready for “Imo Jochu”(made from Japanese sweet potatoes).

Whether you’re buying any kind of Shochu, there are many ways that Japanese enthusiasts recommend.

In any way, let’s try and enjoy it!

Learn About Japanese Shochu

If you want the first step to getting “What’s Japanese Shochu”, check out this post first. (and come back here please.)

The Principle Of Japanese Shochu To Enjoy

Before going through the ways to drink Shochu, you should know this anyway. If you don’t know this principle, you may be not able to enjoy the Japanese Sochu.

Let’s Get To Know About Two Categories In Shochu

According to the brewing method and the law, Japanese Shochu has two categories- “Otsurui shochu (genuine shochu)” and “Kourui shochu”.

Roughly speaking, Otsurui Shochu is distilled only once (the single distillation) and the raw materials should be such as barley, rice, sweet potatoes, sugar cane.

The most popular Shochu you see in the US is Otsurui Shochu.

Since Otsurui Shochu is made of genuine raw materials and the single distillation in the process, it is the Shochu to enjoy the sensitive flavor of raw materials.

Thus, choose Otsurui Shochu when you want to enjoy it with a straight/on the rock/Oyuwari/mizuwari.

On the other hand, Korui Shochu is made from multiple distillations, which is distilled spirit multiple times to concentrate alcohol content, and even it is made of multiple ingredients.

Since Korui Shochu is produced by multiple distillations, the taste is clear and smooth, and because of the multiple ingredients, the price is reasonable.

Thus, it is used for making casual daily cocktails such as Chu-hi, Sour drinks.

Generally, Korui Shochu doesn’t have rich flavor and is not suitable for enjoying itself, not like Otsurui Shochu.

How About Your Favorite Shochu?

Otsurui Shochu

  • Iichiko
  • Shiro
  • Yokaichi
  • Lento
  • etc…

Korui Shochu

  • Kinmiya

What Do You Mix Shochu With?

Shochu is the distilled spirit, so basically you can enjoy in anyways like vodka, gin, and whiskey.

Then, the principle of Japanese Shochu will be important.

When you want to enjoy Shochu on a straight, on the rock, and even mix it with water, in other words, when you want to taste rich Shochu flavor as it is, choose Otsurui Shochu.

The Shochu is also likable for mixing with,

  • fizzy water + syrup
  • fruit juice
  • pop soda
  • Japaense green tea
  • Oolong tea

In these cases, you can use Oturui Shochu, but considering cost performance, Korui shochu can be suitable to make casual cocktails.

Mizu-Wari Guide

Probably the most common way to enjoy (Otsurui) shochu is “mizuwari”, which is mixing Shochu with cold/room temperature water.

  • Mizu…water in Japanese
  • Wari…to dilute the liquid with abother liquid

Wait for running to the kitchen and twisting a tap.

Indeed, Mizu-wari means mixing Shochu with water, but it is not enough to do so!

There are some rules to make the best Mizuwari shochu.

In this simple but supreme way, I will tell you how to make the best “mizuwari” at home in this article.

Easy Steps To Make MIzuwari Shochu

First, fill a glass with ice cubes until 80% high. Large ice cubes are better. Then spin the ice with a bar spoon to cool the entire glass. Add a few ice cubes to fill the glass.

  1. Chill a glass in a refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before drinking.
  2. Fill the glass with ice.
  3. Pour shochu on to ice and stir shochu and ice to chill the shochu. (The standard ratio of shochu in the water is 6:4.)
  4. Add water gently and stir few times.

Use The Best Glass For Mizuwari-Shochu

To be a Mizuwari Shochu enthusiast, why not select the best glass!

Generally, thin glass is suitable for Mizuwari shochu to enjoy its aroma & flavor.

Check out my selection of the best Shochu glass in this post later.

Oyu-wari Guide

The best way to enjoy the attractive aroma and flavor of authentic Shochu (Honkaku shochu/ Otsuru Shochu/ Awamori) is said Oyuwari, which mixing the Shochu with boiled water.

In the Kyushu region, the home of Shochu, locals enjoy “Oyuwari” daily throughout the year.

Oyuwari is also simple to make as well as Mizuwari, but there are some tips to make it more delicious.

Here is the ultimate guide to making the best Oyuwari Shochu at home.

  • Pour the water first and add shochu gently
  • Make sure the appropriate water temperature to make Oyuwari
  • Make your Oyuwari at the golden ratio: 6: 4/ 5:5
  • Choose the best glass for Oyuwari
  • Chosse the best shochu for Oyuwari
  • Make hot nibbles with Oyuwari

Here is the ultimate guide to making Oyuwari you should know!


Shochu with fizzy water is also popular in Japan, and it’s almost the same steps to make “Mizuwari”.

Because of the simple cocktail, select thoughtfully ingredients and tools to make it delicious.

I need to explain what “soda” is referred to in this term in Japan, and it commonly refers to “carbonated water”. So, shochu with carbonated water is called “Soda-wari” in Japan.

Generally, soda-wari doesn’t contain any sweeter but some Izakayas add sweeter so it is hard to define whether Godavari is sweet or not here.

Anyway, note that soda refers to carbonated water in this post.

Choose Normal Carbonated Water

I think that many people usually just buy commercial carbonated water available, but let’s stick to the water.

Even it alone will change the taste.

There are various kinds of carbonated water, choose “soda with fewer minerals components” if possible. In other words, better avoid natural sparkling water such as Perrier.

Also, cool the soda well.

It’s an idea you can make your own fizzy water at home with SodaStream.

The Best Glass

The thin glass is also palatable. You can enjoy shochu with soda not only by taste but also by vision, so use a thin glass.

The Perfect Ratio Of Shochu With Soda “4 : 6”

First, let’s look at the ratios of shochu with soda. The best ratio is “Shochu 4: Soda 6”.
In the case of Mizuwari and Oyuwari, the so-called Rokuyon of shochu 6: water 4 is considered to be perfect, but the contrary is true for Sodawari. The carbonic acid in the soda lifts the flavor, making it a little thinner than the water.

By the way, the alcohol content is now about 10%.
It is lower than one in wine and Japanese sake, so even those who are not good at strong alcohol can enjoy it.

Stir Shochu With Soda Once

The steps to make Sodawari is the same except for the last step. In the case of Sodawari, stir gently it only once complete.

This is because to keep fizzy as possible of course, and since the carbonic acid bubbles lift the Shochu, it is not necessary to stir it many times.

“Sodawari” Or “Shochu High Ball”???

Alcohol drinks mixed with carbonated water are called “Highball”. The most famous is “Whiskey Highball.”

In Japan, highball refers to “Whiskey highball” because it is so popular so it is called “Shochu high ball” when the cocktail used Shochu.

Technically, Sodawari and Shochu high ball is the same drink, and it is more confusing when the Japanese call “Chu-Hi” which is sometimes the same drink but sometimes not.


Mae-wari is one of the classic ways to enjoy Shochu along with straight, on the rocks, Mizuwari, and Oyuwari. Add water to shochu, dilute it to the desired concentration in advance, and let it sit for a few days to a week before drinking.

It is a connoisseur’s favorite way, and also in the Kyushu region, especially Kagoshima, it is served for hospitality at parties since ancient times.

By resting for over 24 hours, shochu and water are well blended and make it more smooth, mellow and rounded, and rich without habits.

How to make Mae-wari shochu is very simple. Simply mix the shochu and water in a clean bottle in the desired ratio, and let it sit in the refrigerator for about one night to a week.

It is OK whatever the bottle is available in your kitchen, but the best result is a bottle that blocks lights.

if you have an iconic pottery “Shochu” server“, the atmosphere will improve.

When using a shochu with an alcohol content of 25%, the ratio of shochu to water is about 6 to 4, but you can adjust it to your liking. Also, it is recommended to use soft mineral water instead of tap water.

The taste of shochu can be significantly improved by Maewari, and it is also attractive to find your favorite ratio and resting days. Maewari Shochu also can be enjoyable with a straight, on the rock. When you make it warm, soak a heat-resistance glass or mug filled Maewari Shochu in boiled water until it gets warm. Enjoy having “Maewari” experiment and find your favorite taste.

Other Ways To Enjoy Shochu


In Japan, it is also a popular way to enjoy Shochu mixed with “Japanese green tea” or “Oolong tea”.

Mixed with Japanese green tea is called “Ocya-wari”(お茶割り) or “Ryokucya-hai”(緑茶ハイ), and with “oolong tea” is “(w)uron-hai”(ウーロンハイ).

Pour the shochu first and then add the tea. Believe it or not, mixing with green tea is said “hard to get hungover” the next day. Also, you can enjoy not only cold tea but also hot tea. When using hot tea, pour the tea first and then add the shochu.

Green tea contains vitamin C and caffeine and also helps increase glucose in the blood to break down alcohol.

Also, oolong tea has a diuretic effect, alcohol is easily discharged out of the body.

Not only green tea and oolong tea, but you can also enjoy it with your favorite tea such as English tea, Jasmine tea.

In another way to enjoy Ochawari, it is ideal to make homemade tea-infused Shochu which is no technique is required.


You may wonder whether coffee and shochu go well together. However, the aroma of coffee and the umami of shochu combine nicely to create a fresh and unique taste.

As you know, Coffee is originally a drink that goes well with alcohol which has been used in cocktails such as “Irish coffee” with whiskey and “Cafe Royale” with brandy.

Add coffee to the shochu and stir gently. Barley shochu, Awamori, and Soba shochu go well with the coffee flavor.
It will be good as a dessert cocktail top with milk, vanilla ice cream, or fresh cream if you like.

If you are a coffee and Shochu lover, isn’t it perfect?

The recipe is very simple. Just divide Shoochu or Awamori with hot/iced black coffee or espresso. Also, you can make coffee-infused shochu with coffee beans. It goes well with syrup and milk.

The recommended ratio of shochu and coffee is 1: 3 or 1: 4. In these ratios, Alcohol habit is moderately suppressed and is just right to feel the coffee aroma, making it delicious.

Fruit Juice-Wari

Enjoy by adding your favorite fruit juice such as orange, grapefruit, kiwi fruits. Even you can add them to Mizuwari and Sodawari. In Japan, “Nama-shibori” series is popular as Izakaya’s menu-Shochu with fresh-squeezed fruit juice”. raw squeezing”. You can also mix several kinds of fruits and enjoy your own taste.

If you need more vegetable consumption, why not add vegetable juice instead of fruit juice?

Apple Vinegar-Wari

Add the desired amount of apple cider vinegar and sweeter (honey or syrup) to Miauwari. Finished with a refreshing taste.
In the summertime, using carbonate water instead of water is super refreshing and blows your fatigue because of the vinegar benefit.

Enjoy Shochu Cocktails More With Topping

Umeboshi; Japanese Super-Sour Dried Plums

Umeboshi, Japanese traditional dried plum, Japanese food, Japanese pickles, Sun-dried

“Umeboshi” is a Japanese traditional dried plum-it is generally super sour and salty. (Woo, it makes my mouth water.)

It is one of the popular toppings for Shochu cocktails, and it can be enjoyed with iced/hot.

Umeboshi is also known for the effect of preventing osteoporosis and high blood pressure and recovering from fatigue.

Crush it before topping on the drink. In this way, the ingredients of umeboshi will be combined with shochu, and it can be expected health effect will be enhanced.

Above all, crushing spreads the sourness and makes it easier to drink with a unique taste.

Cucumber Topping; Kappa

cucumber, cocktail, gin, shochu

Putting slices or sticks of cucumber in the Shochu on the rock is called “Kappa”(かっぱ).

Slices of cucumber are a very common garnish for gin in the UK, and Gin and Shochu are in the same category, “Distilled spirits”.

It gives it a honeydew melon-like scent, and the mysterious refreshing flavor is addictive.


Japaneses Shochu, Kingyo Wari, Japanese shochu cocktail, dried chili pepper, shiso leaves, Japanese food

“Kingyo” is a goldfish in Japanese.

As Japanese aesthetic, colorful goldfish has been around as attractive decoration from ancient years.

People enjoy watching them in the beautiful unique water tank.

The Mizuwaru Shochu with Japanese mints and a whole dried chili is called “Kingyo”-wari because it looks like a goldfish in a water tank.

So, the Japanese enjoy it with Shochu in the glass in a stylish way. It’s not just about stylish but also tasty that you can enjoy both with tongue and eyes.

So, it is a good idea to select a unique shaped clear rock glass to enjoy the atmosphere.

Like this?

Like this?

Besides, it has a refreshing impression at the first sip, the pungent stimulus of chili peppers becomes stronger and stronger- the addictive taste is something that other cocktails do not have.

Put ice, Shiso perilla, and whole dried chili pepper in a glass and pour the shochu gently.

Shiso, Japanese basil, is the best result if you are looking for authenticity but it is a kind of decoration to initiate as water grasses, so you can use any other leaves.

I think that it is hard to find Shiso leaves if you don’t have any oriental grocery store which especially covers enough Japanese food, so you may plant them or you may use other herbs.

Shochu can be delicious with both Otsurui and Kourui, but it is better to avoid strong flavors such as Imo Jochu.

The Bottom Line

Shochu has been loved in Japan for a long time, is not only unique in variety but also can be enjoyed in countless ways.

I have introduced how the Japanese drinkers enjoy Shochu, and I believe you understand shochu is so deep. There are more arrangements that could not tell you here today. Create as many flavors as you like, exploring your ideas. If you are a Shochu beginner, why not use this article to find the best for you?

There are some terms that you may not understand. If you like to learn the Shochu basic, here is the ultimate guide of Japanese Shochu.

Other Popular Related Article For Alcoholic

You might be interested in Izakayas in Japan.

Also Non-alcoholic Drinks in Japan.

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