(Hamada Shuzo Distillery)
You might be surprised to learn that sake doesn’t top the list of the most popular spirits in Japan. That distinction goes to shochu, a distilled spirit made from grains and vegetables, with sweet potato, barley, rice, buckwheat, and sugar cane the most common base ingredients. Unlike sake, though, it’s not well known outside of the country—but it’s worth discovering.
Satsuma shochu, from the Kagoshima region, has a long history and is known for its high quality. Like Scotch whisky, Cognac, or Champagne, shochu must be made in a specific locale and through traditional methods to be labeled as Satsuma.
Join several experts as they cover the history of Satsuma shochu and the region with which it is so closely connected; shochu’s traditions, manufacturing process, and place in contemporary cocktail culture; and how to best enjoy this distinctive spirit. The evening also includes an overview of the local Japanese dining scene.
Guests include Tadataka Shimotakehara, CEO of the Ibusuki Hakusuikan Hotel in Kagoshima; Yuichiro Hamada, CEO of the Hamada Shuzo distillery and chair of the Kagoshima Shochu Makers Association; Cristian Choi, a certified specialist in Japanese spirits; Daisuke Utagawa, a partner in D.C.’s Daikaya restaurant and a featured co-host on the PBS travel series Rudy Maxa’s World, and Monica Lee, Daikaya’s beverage director.
Enjoy a tasting of premium Satsuma shochu, as well as small bites from Daikaya.