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August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Hot Soba Shochu!

Hot Soba Water is Slightly Incandescent...



Firstly, soba is a noodle made of buckwheat, some people call it an Eurasian herb.   For centuries, along with rice, soba has been the main stay of the Japanese diet and is an intricate part of Japanese cuisine.   In the West, seeds of  buckwheat have been used as a cereal grain often times seen on our breakfast table  in the form of hot cereal.     

In Japan, especially during summer, people enjoy eating buckwheat noodles with tempura and sake.    The locals love their noodles either cold or hot, even fried.   But, what about as an alcoholic beverage?   

In the West, we use grains for brewing wheat beer, along with hops and other things.    In Japan, in addition to using buckwheat in cuisines, is also used in alcohol, namely, Shochu , a distilled Japanese spirit.   

For the passive gourmand this is rare as most times buckwheat is  associated as a food dish or tea, not an alcohol.   For the food and sake enthusiast this is not so rare, and even some bars offer this as a drink.  


Shochu is a distilled beverage made from a lot of different things, but mainly either sweet potatoes or wheat.    Perhaps the rarest is pumpkin Shochu.     Shochu, in its straight form tastes a lot like expensive vodka, but more grainy and dry.   Often times you can see Japanese salarymen binge drinking on the Shochu , this is because it is more reasonably  priced than rice brewed sake.    Another reason is because it is a lot easier to cut with water as you won't loose too much in terms of taste.    You cannot cut nihonshu with water because you will loose most of the flavor content.


My blogs main focus has been nihonshu as I've been promoting it for years all over the world!    But, need I also mention that Shochu is also the soul of Japan and is worthy of being promoted, as one of the most coveted beverages in the pantheon of Japanese elixirs.   I  intend to cover more on shochu as I have a wealth of knowledge on the subject.




For starters, my favorite way to enjoy it is hot, and preferably as a soba variety.    The best way to enjoy soba  shochu is to first order up some soba.   Eat it.   Take in the flavors, the surrounding, the textures, and the aftertaste.     Afterwards, have a waiter bring out the soba-ya,  the water used to boil the noodles - you will use this as your base.



You will need a whisk, a nice small cup, and a small bottle of real soba shochu.   Are you still with me?  Restaurateurs take notes.      Next, pour a quarter amount of the soba shochu into the cup and then cut it with the soba-ya!   Drink to taste.    I prefer half and half.



You will be soba(fied) instantly!   You can't deny that the two work together very well.   Well.... at least I loved it and don't think I can drink it any other way.   OK.  I'm stretching it  little.   Shochu can be enjoyed whichever way you think, but to enjoy the real soba shochu, use the soba-ya.    Thanks for reading.


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