Japanese Sake, Shochu & Umeshu

Confused about which Japanese SakeShochu or Umeshu to choose from? Learn more about the differences between each type of alcoholic beverage in this dedicated page! 

 

Why purchase Japanese Sake, Shochu or Umeshu from us?

As a Japanese company, you can be assured that we only bring you the best of Japan to you & your loved ones! Our Japanese alcohols are specially handpicked to ensure a wide variety that can be enjoyed by everyone. Likewise, you can visit our retail store to talk to our staff if you are unsure before purchasing.  

 

Find out and shop your favourite Japanese Sake, Shochu or Umeshu right now in each individual sections! If you don't find something that you like, drop us an email here.

Japanese Sake

Japanese Sake, is an alcoholic beverage produced from fermented rice. Be sure to use the term: Nihonshu (日本酒) aka "Japanese Alcohol" in Japan's Izakayas when placing orders for Japanese Sake!

 

The main components that make up Japanese Sake are namely: Rice (Sakamai 酒米), Water & Koji Mould. The percentage of the rice polishing prior to brewing, determines the grade of the sake. In other words, the more polished the rice, the higher the grade of sake. The average ABV (alcohol by volume) of sake is around 14 - 16%, but sparkling versions can be as low as 4.5%.

 

 

Junmai vs Non-Jumai

Junmai (純米) meaning "pure rice" in Japanese, refers to sake brewed without additives such as sugar or alcohol. These form tend to be richer, more acidic and relatively less sweet.

Non-Junmai sake are produced with alcohol primarily to balance the overall taste of the drink. As these tend to have a lower acidity, they tend to be smoother, lighter and have a more aromatic aftertaste. 

Common types include:

  • Junmai Daiginjyo (純米大吟醸) | Daiginjyo (大吟醸 ): 50% Polished Rice, Premium Sake, Served Chilled, Delicate & Refined with fruity aftertaste.

  • Junmai Ginjyo (純米吟醸) | Ginjyo (吟醸)60% Polished Rice, Served Chilled, Easy to Drink, Light, Fruity & Complex flavour.

Types of Japanese Sake

  • Tokubetsu Junmai (特別純米): 70% Polished Rice, Recommended for Beginners, Lingering Taste of Rice, Pairs well with delicate dishes like steamed food.

  • Junmai (純米): 70% Polished Rice, Rich full body with an Intense, Slightly Acidic flavour, Goes well with grilled dishes. 

  • Tokubetsu Honjyozo (特别本醸造): 70% Polished Rice, Easy to Drink, Served Warm or Chilled, Light on palate. 
     

  • Honjyozo (本醸造): 70% Polished Rice, Easy to Drink, Goes well with food that are lighter in taste. 

Shop Japanese Sake with H.I.S. eMall

Shochu

 

Shochu (焼酎) is a distilled spirit beverage widely consumed in Japan. Unlike that of Japanese Sake which is mainly produced with rice, Shochu can be made from Sweet Potato, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn or other ingredients!

 

This alcoholic beverage was originally made in the Kyushu region but is produced in most parts of Japan today. The average ABV (alcohol by volume) of shochu is around 25 - 40%, but sparkling versions can be as low as 8%.

 

Ways to drink Shochu

Straight is the best way to experience the real taste of the distilled beverage. Try drinking it at different temperatures to see how the taste changes!

On the Rock is another popular way to enjoy Shochu too! Pour the Shochu of your choice into a glass filled with ice. The unique sweet smell of Shochu will flourish as the ice melts.

Mizuwari (Cut with Water) | Oyuwari (Cut with Hot Water)  can be made by simply adding cold or hot water of 3:2 (Shochu : Water) into your Shochu! For Mizuwari, add shochu in first and vice versa for Oyuwari where you add hot water in first to allow ease of mixing.

Soda-wari (Cut with Soda) is an interesting way to drink Shochu as it completely changes the taste of shochu, making it a very refreshing drink! To enhance the refreshing taste, you can squeeze some citrus juice into it. 

Types of Shochu

Common types include:

  • Imo Shochu (芋焼酎) made from Sweet Potato has a plump aroma & soft sweetness. This is best enjoyed with fatty & fried dishes. 

  • Mugi Shochu (麦焼酎) is made from Barley and has a light, clean & mild taste. It is easy to drink & goes well with smoked or grilled dishes.

  • Kome Shochu (米焼酎) made from Rice has a rather thick taste with an aroma similar to that of Japanese Sake. Generally, it goes well with most dishes, especially that of sashimi & rice dishes like donburi.

  • Kokuto Shochu (黒糖焼酎) is made from Brown Sugar resulting in a clean & dry taste with a slightly more aromatic taste profile. Its sweetness goes well with dishes on the sweeter side such as Yakitori. 

  • Soba Shochu (そば焼酎) made from Buckwheat has a lingering sweet, fruity aroma. With a taste slightly milder than Mugi Shochu, it is best enjoyed with meats & seafood. 

  • Shiso Shochu (紫蘇焼酎) is made from the aromatic shiso leaves and it carries the pleasant scent and soft flavour of the leaves. It is best to drink it before and after a meal.

  • Awamori (泡盛) made from long grain Indica Rice, is an indigenous & unique beverage from Okinawa. It matches well with local dishes such as Umibudo or Tofuyo, in addition its bold nature allows it to pair with stronger meat dishes and creamier food. 

Shop Shochu with H.I.S. eMall

Umeshu

 

Umeshu (梅酒), otherwise known as Plum Wine is a traditional liqueur known for its sweet & sour flavours with a fruity aroma, is a beverage that is widely enjoyed by many. The main ingredients of Umeshu is none other than, Ume (Japanese Plum), Alcohol (Shochu/White Liqueur) & Sugar. 

In fact, Umeshu can be easily made within the comforts of your home - Simply mix Ume & Sugar into the Alcohol of your choice and wait patiently. With no expiration date for Umeshu, it is no wonder that many soak them for years! The average ABV (alcohol by volume) of Umeshu is around 10 - 15%. 

Ways to enjoy Umeshu

Straight allows you to enjoy the real taste of Umeshu! If you are into sweet drinks, this will definitely be on your books as the thick, sweet flavour of Umeshu lingers on your palate

On the Rock is one popular way to drink Umeshu as the sweet & smooth smell of Umeshu would spread as the ice melts. You can also consider using crushed ice for a different texture.

Mizuwari (Cut with Water) | Oyuwari (Cut with Hot Water)  can be made by simply adding cold or hot water into your Umeshu to smoothen the drink and change the flavour. Be careful not to over add, otherwise the drink would become too watery!

Soda-wari (Cut with Soda) enhances the taste of Umeshu due to the sparkling sensation from the carbonated water. 

Other different & unique ways to enjoy Umeshu also include: Cocktail with Calpis, Poured over Ice Cream and in a frozen state like that of "Mizorezake" which refers to sake served below freezing temperature!

Honkaku Umeshu & Benefits

Honkaku Umeshu (本格梅酒) is often printed on the bottles of Umeshu which have been produced using real plums. One should take note when purchasing as those which do not have such wordings are usually produced with food additives which resemble the smell & taste of Ume. 

Shop Umeshu with H.I.S. eMall