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Thread: what are you drinking tonight?

  1. #1271
    Booker's barrel-proof bourbon.

  2. #1272
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    SpikeC's Avatar
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    Pabst Blue Ribbon, Wild Turkey, Knob Creek, Widmer Old Embalmer. It looks like Mom's house sold!
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  3. #1273
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    Been working through some Sika wines blended by a guy I met when I first got into wine, over 15 yrs ago. Very nice. So far, the '09 napa syrah and the '09 napa cab are my favorites.

  4. #1274
    Senior Member Johnny.B.Good's Avatar
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    Full Sail Wassail Winter Ale.

    Delicious.

  5. #1275
    Some nice Malbec

  6. #1276
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    mr drinky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    Been working through some Sika wines blended by a guy I met when I first got into wine, over 15 yrs ago. Very nice. So far, the '09 napa syrah and the '09 napa cab are my favorites.
    That's my type of drinking I need to work through some wines myself.

    k.
    "There's only one thing I hate more than lying…skim milk, which is water that's lying about being milk." -- Ron Swanson

  7. #1277
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    So, a friend gave me a bottle of shochu - what do I do with it? Never had any, how do you guys drink it?

    Stefan

  8. #1278
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    sachem allison's Avatar
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    I like it with some crushed watermelon, lime juice, simple syrup and a little salt on the rocks
    I haven't lived the life I wanted, just the lives I needed too at the time.

  9. #1279
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    Quote Originally Posted by apicius9 View Post
    So, a friend gave me a bottle of shochu - what do I do with it? Never had any, how do you guys drink it?

    Stefan

    The word "sake" in Japan can actually refer to all alcoholic beverages in general, although it most often refers to the wine-like rice brew so tightly associated with that Illustration by Kakurezaki Ryuichiword overseas. But in some parts of Japan, most notably the far western and southern regions, the word sake is understood to refer to a totally different alcoholic beverage, also indigenous to Japan, but distilled and not brewed: shochu.

    Like almost all such beverages throughout the world, shochu developed as it did as an expression of region, especially climate, cuisine and available raw materials. Perhaps the factor most affecting the development of shochu is the weather. The island of Kyushu and the western part of the island of Honshu are significantly warmer than the rest of Japan.

    Brewing sake calls for relatively lower temperatures, but shochu can be distilled in these warmer regions. Also, the higher alcohol content and drier feel is more appealing to many in milder climates.

    Unlike many other beverages, shochu is made from one of several raw materials. These include sweet potato, and shochu made from these is called "imo-jochu." Other materials commonly used include from rice, soba (buckwheat), and barley. There is even one island where there a few places that make shochu from brown sugar. It can also be made from more obscure things like chestnuts and other grains.

    And, each of these raw materials gives a very, very distinct flavor and aroma profile to the final sake. These profiles run the gamut from smooth and light (rice) to peaty, earthy and strong (potato). Indeed, each of these raw materials lends a unique flavor in much the same way that the peat and barley of each region in Scotland determine the character of the final scotch whiskey.

    There are, in fact, many parallels between shochu and scotch, regional distinction based on local ingredients being only one of them.

    Another parallel to scotch can be found in the distillation methods. There are basically two main methods of distillation. The older method - it has been around since the 14th century or so - involves a single round of distillation only, and is made using only one raw material. Known as Otsu-rui (Type B - in an admittedly loose translation) or Honkaku ("the real thing") shochu, this type will more often reflect the idiosyncrasies of the original raw material. In this sense, it can be likened to single malt scotches.

    The second method is one in which the shochu is goes through several distillations, one right after another. It is often made with several of the commonly used raw materials. Known as Kou-rui (Type A, in the same admittedly loose translation) shochu, this method has only been around since 1911, although it only became a legal classification in 1949. With a bit of a stretch, this kind of shochu is similar to much blended scotch. In other words, it is much smoother, ideal for mixing in cocktails, and with much less … well, character.

    Beyond these variables, the type of koji mold (used to create sugar from the starch of the raw materials during the fermentation step that necessarily takes place before distillation) can be one of three, (yellow koji, as is used with sake, white koji and black koji) and the distillation itself can take place at either atmospheric pressure or at a forced lower pressure. These parameters too naturally affect the style of the final product.

    Kou-rui shochu, of which much more is produced by far, is quite versatile. As it is lighter and cleaner, it lends itself well to use in mixed drinks. Perhaps its most ubiquitous manifestation is the popular "chu-hi," a shochu hi-ball made using a plethora of different fruit flavors and sold in single-serving cans or mixed fresh at bars and pubs. (Since it is supposedly cleaner by virtue of having been repeatedly distilled, it is said by some to give less of a hangover, although there is no evidence to truly back this up.)

    Otsu-rui shochu, the "real thing" honkaku-shochu, on the other hand, has a more artisan, hand crafted appeal associated with it. The nature of the raw material can really come through, and be it soba, rice, barley, or chestnuts, each has its fans and foes. This is especially true when it has been distilled at atmospheric pressure, not forced lower pressure.

    Perhaps the most interesting - and illustrious - of all shochu are those made from the sweet potatoes of Kagoshima Prefecture: imo-jochu. While the flavors can be heavier and more earthy than shochu made from other starches, Kagoshima imo-jochu offers complexity and fullness of flavor that makes it quite enjoyable to many a connoisseur.

    Honkaku "the real thing" shochu is usually enjoyed straight, on the rocks, or with a splash of water. Another way to enjoy either type of shochu is known as "oyu-wari," which is simply mixing it with a bit of hot water. This both backs the alcohol off a bit, releases flavor and aroma, and warms the body to the very core. Unbeatable in winter, for sure. From experience, I can guarantee it will warm you from the core outward.

    Shochu overall is enjoying massive popularity these days in Japan. Over the last couple of years, both beer and sake consumption have continued to drop, where as shochu has actually increased.

    While shochu has its roots in either China or Korea, probably having come across during trading, the traditional home of shochu in Japan is Kagoshima, on the island of Kyushu. In fact, the first usage of the term shochu appeared in graffiti written by a carpenter dated 1559 in a shrine in the city of Oguchi in Kagoshima.

    Kagoshima is rightfully proud of their shochu heritage. It is the only prefecture in Japan that brews absolutely no sake, but only produces shochu. If you ask for sake down there, expect and enjoy the local sweet-potato distillate.

    The difference between soju and shochu
    Korea also makes shochu, although it is called soju in Korean. And, Korean producers got to the US with it first. As such, in US legalese, the product is known as shochu. As far as I know, all Japanese shochu will be legally referred to as soju in the US. It is, in essence, the same thing. Judge it on its flavor, not its label.
    I haven't lived the life I wanted, just the lives I needed too at the time.

  10. #1280
    Senior Member tkern's Avatar
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    crushed watermelon you say?

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