What is Shochu?
Shochu - The Distilled Sake
焼酎Shochu (pronounced "xôtyû"), which means "fermented distilled" or "distilled sake" is a distilled alcoholic beverage consumed by very ancient oriental for many years. In Japan Shochu, also known as "Japanese vodka" can be produced from a variety of materials, such as rice, wheat, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, cassava and other sources of carbohydrates, and every ingredient used in the production gives a flavor of the original raw material with subtle differences between each type of Shochu. Its alcohol content can vary from 15% to 45% by volume, but the most traditional are 25% by volume.
There are basically two classifications for Shochu, “Otsu” and “Ko”.
Regarded as the Shochu craft and more traditional Shochu class "Otsu", better known as "Genuine Shochu (Honkaku Shochu) is used more and more and more popular in Japan. The manufacturing process basically consists of the rice inoculation with the addition of kojikin (a starter for this particular type of drink), which is then added the yeast, calling this first fermentation process. Then it is added the main raw material (either sweet potato, wheat, rice, cassava, etc.), giving the process the name of second fermentation. And finally, the fermented mash is distilled resulting in Genuine Shochu. The result is a fine drink flavor and taste characteristic of the original ingredients used, comparable to the best wines and other alcoholic beverages of high quality.
The other classification of Shochu, class "Ko" is achieved through use of numerous materials and multiple distillations, resulting in a drink with flavor and fragrance neutral usually used for cocktail fruit juice with carbonated water. Comparing it with the Genuine Shochu, the difference in taste and quality is recognized immediately and showing the supremacy of quality Genuine Shochu.
Alcoholic beverages can be divided into three categories, depending on the method of production. The three categories are fermented beverages, spirits and mixed drinks (liquor). The Shochu falls into the category of distilled spirits.
The spirits have a relatively short history, about 700 to 800 years, unlike fermented beverages were produced before the record of history. The reason for this short story was due to difficulties in the development of the distillation process and the distillers for different types of grape were naturally fermented.
There is evidence that the first distillers have been created in the region of Mesopotamia about 3000 years BC. However, the first distillery built specifically for the purpose of producing distilled beverages appeared in the thirteenth century in China.
However, it is not known exactly the origin of shochu in Japan, although the first descriptions of the Shochu are dated from the early fifteenth century in the province of Kyushu (southern island of Japan). But there is much evidence that the production techniques of Shochu were introduced in Japan through the Indo-China, through Korea and eventually reached the Ryukyu Islands (now Okinawa Prefecture). Subsequently, these techniques were introduced in Okinawa through the archipelago of Amami Ooshima, coming to Kagoshima, which is considered the land of Shochu. Thereafter, these techniques have continued to grow to the north, passing through the territory of Japan.
In Brazil, the techniques of production of shochu were introduced thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of the Japanese immigrant, Norihito Matsuda, born in Gunma, with the help of fellow immigrant Shigeki Matsumura, a native of Kagoshima Prefecture, after several years to engage in intensive research, was able to produce the first 100% Brazilian Shochu with typical raw Brazilian cassava organic. Besides being considered the first domestic production of shochu, it is also considered the first Shochu organic cassava in the world.
Below are some examples of Shochu's unique regional characteristics and the most traditional which have been created to the extent that the production techniques were introduced into new regions:
- Awamori (Okinawa): Shochu produced in Okinawa (southern islands of Japan), is produced from rice.
- Grain Shochu: Originated in the early sixteenth century in southeastern islands of Kyushu, is produced from a variety of grains like corn.
- Imo Shochu: Originated in the mid-seventeenth century in Kagoshima Prefecture, is produced from sweet potato.
- Mugi Shochu: Originated in the early nineteenth century in Nagasaki, Japan, is made from wheat.
- Kokuta Shochu: Originated from a few decades on the island of Amami Ooshima, is made from brown sugar.
- Cassava Shochu: Originated in 2003 in the city of Mogi das Cruzes / SP, is the first Brazilian shochu made from organic cassava.
Besides Shochu's listed above, other regions bear their own ingredients and history of the creation of its shochu.
HAKKON - The Brazilian Spirit
The Hakkon, which means "Brazilian Spirit", is a Genuine Shochu using as raw material, a product widely consumed in the daily diet of Brazilians, Cassava
Respecting the demands ever-increasing for food security, the Hakkon gives a unique flavor that is attracting great interest among lovers of alcoholic beverages. The production process of Hakkon is totally organic, free of pesticides and chemical additives, certified by IBD - Biodynamic Institute. Since the organic cultivation of cassava has no contact with chemicals, it obeys all rules of organic production of high quality and hygiene.
The production process of Hakkon starts in the washing and cooking cassava organic previously selected and qualified. Meanwhile in another pan, the organic rice is washed, cooked and inoculated with a ferment called kojikin, and then add to yeast to obtain the first fermentation. Next, it is added to organic cooked cassava and ground, the second fermentation. The fermented mash resulting from the second fermentation is then distilled in an alembic special and then stored in tanks of homes. During the process,