The Resurgence of Japanese Shochu: A Hidden Gem on the Global Stage

Image Courtesy: Tatler Asia Limited • Why Is Shochu Suddenly Everywhere? | Clockwise from top left: Chandrakant Mohanty, founder of Mizunara; Elliot Faber, founder of Sake Central; Devender Sehgal, head bartender at The Aubrey; Maya Aley, Shochu Meister and owner of Bar Roku

In a candid conversation with Gavin Yeung of Tatler, Mr. Chandrakant Mohanty, the visionary behind Mizunara, the Hong Kong and Singapore-based Japanese Whisky & Spirits Specialist Distributor and Operator of Japanese Styled Bars, unraveled the fascinating journey of Japanese Shochu—a spirit undergoing a renaissance on both domestic and global fronts.

"Historically, shochu was relegated as a blue-collar drink in Japan until the transformative era of the 1970s," elucidated Mr. Mohanty. "The introduction of vacuum distillation and the advent of 100 percent mugi (barley) shochu marked a pivotal turning point, ushering in lighter, more approachable varieties." This innovation sparked the initial 'shochu boom,' catalysing its ascent within Japan until the early 1980s.

However, Mr. Mohanty notes, "Today, we're at the cusp of unearthing Japan's hidden treasure." His foresight is optimistic, foreseeing an imminent surge in shochu's global popularity. Beyond mixology, he predicts a pronounced interest among sommeliers and chefs, drawn to shochu's multifaceted flavours and its varying Alcohol by Volume (ABV). This diverse spectrum of profiles and ABV ranges, according to Mr. Mohanty, presents an enticing canvas for innovative serving styles that impeccably complement diverse cuisines.

The allure of shochu lies not merely in its evolution but in its versatility—a spirit poised to captivate discerning palates across the globe. Mr. Mohanty's insights illuminate the trajectory of shochu from a modest status to an upcoming force within the realm of fine spirits. As this hidden gem continues to gain momentum, its journey from a 'blue-collar' libation to a globally appreciated beverage seems inevitable. The world awaits, poised to savour the multifaceted delights of Japanese Shochu—a true embodiment of craftsmanship, innovation, and evolving taste.

To delve deeper into the intriguing rise of Shochu, explore the 'Why Is Shochu Suddenly Everywhere?' article here.