Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association | JSS


The Basic Guide How to Serve Shochu

How to Serve Shochu

Shochu can be enjoyed before, during, and after a meal. Along with standard serving methods, including straight and mixed with soda, shochu also makes a great cocktail base.

When to Serve Shochu

Shochu makes for an excellent aperitif and digestive before or after a meal. However, many people in Japan enjoy it during a meal as well. In some cases, well-timed shochu servings help refresh the palate during a full course meal.

Standard Ways to Enjoy Shochu


Shochu is smooth and has a lower alcohol content than most spirits. Together, these factors enhance its full flavor served straight at room temperature.

Shochu with Cold Water

Mizu-wari, or shochu cut with cold water, is one of the most popular ways to drink shochu in Japan. This mixer gives the drink a milder taste while still retaining shochu’s unique flavor. In Kyushu, some people blend shochu and water a few hours before drinking to make it taste smoother.

Shochu with Hot Water

Oyu-wari, or shochu cut with hot water, brings out shochu’s sweet and savory taste and aroma. It is an especially popular serving method during winter.

On the Rocks

Serving shochu over ice cubes chills the drink. While it does reduce the aroma of the drink, the taste becomes extra smooth.

Shochu with
Carbonated Water

Soda-wari, or shochu cut with carbonated water, makes shochu bubbly with a refreshing taste. This method is especially popular during summer.

Shochu with Tea

Ocha-wari, or shochu cut with unsweetened tea, adds extra flavor to the drink. The most popular mixing teas are oolong tea, green tea, and barley tea. Some types of shochu traditionally pair well with a specific tea. Examples include sweet potato shochu and oolong tea, rice shochu and green tea, and barley shochu and barley tea.

Shochu as a Cocktail Base

Shochu has a unique flavor that can become a unique base for a wide variety of cocktails. One of the simplest shochu cocktails uses a mixer of fresh fruit juice, making a refreshing fruity drink. For more shochu cocktail recipes, see here.


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