The Shochu Leading The Industry (Saturday, October 1st, 2011)
Sanwa Shurui Co., Ltd.
Shochu is a type of spirit that can be made from various base ingredients such as sweet potato, rice, barley, buckwheat, and brown sugar and currently, the popularity of the drink surpasses that of sake in Japan. One of the most widespread shochus among Japanese is “iichiko” made by Sanwa Shurui Co., Ltd. Located in Oita Prefecture in Kyushu Island where most of the shochu makers converge, Sanwa Shurui created this premium shochu in 1979 by applying their sake brewing technique for distilling and utilizing locally grown barley. Made from 100% barley, iichiko has a unique, sweet and nutty aroma.
Producing the best quality shochu is the primary concern of Sanwa Shurui. To achieve this mission, they take advantage of the rich natural resources that their local environment provides, optimal climate for distilling shochu, and their craftsmanship that has been handed down for years. There are currently four types of iichiko available in the U.S. Silhouette has been the beloved standard of the brand since 1986. Seirin is a new blend that was developed exclusively for American consumers. Kurobin is a rich and deep flavored blend of unprocessed shochus packaged in a unique, Japanese style ceramic bottle. Finally, the Frasko is iichiko’s most premium, highest quality shochu, boasting a gorgeous aroma reminiscent of a fragrant daiginjo sake.
The beauty of iichiko is its versatile drinking styles. It’s great with traditional preparations like mizuwari (mix with cold water), oyuwari (mix with hot water) and on-the-rocks, yet it also blends seamlessly with juices, teas, or sodas for an endless number of refreshing cocktail possibilities. You would be amazed with how well iichiko pairs with various foods, not only with traditional Japanese foods but with western foods as well. The local delicacies from Oita Prefecture are heavenly partners with iichiko, such as Bungo beef (premium beef from the area), ryukyu (thinly sliced fish marinated in special soy sauce mix), and chicken karaage (Japanese fried chicken originating in the area). Whichever iichiko you choose and whichever style you try, it is sure to amuse your palate.
Sanwa Shurui Co., Ltd.
2231-1 Yamamoto, Usa-shi, Oita
Three things you should know about iichiko
1. Pairs Well With a Variety of Foods
Shochu tends to be great with food, but iichiko particularly has a bold and rich flavor that pairs exquisitely with any kind of food. It is needless to say Japanese foods are perfect accompaniments, but even heavily seasoned western foods go with the shochu. This is one of the reasons why iichiko is so popular in Japan.
2. Many Ways to Drink it
There are endless ways to enjoy iichiko. The three classic preparations are mizuwari, oyuwari and on-the-rocks. Additionally iichiko can be used in numerous cocktails with juice, tea, soda or fruit. Try adding chopped up pieces of your favorite fruits (grapefruit, lime, strawberry, pineapple, etc.) to chilled iichiko Seirin for a refreshing Seirin Fruit Mix Cocktail.
3. Easy to Drink, Easy on the Body
Not only is iichiko tasty, smooth, and easy to drink, it is also easy on the body. Shochu is distilled alcohol so there is no sugar and almost all of the calories are from alcohol. Also, compared to other distilled alcohols like whiskey or vodka, shochu has the lowest calories. If you drink iichiko mixed with water, juices and other mixers, you can reduce the alcohol content of your drink, making it easy on your body.