Shochu Cocktails: The Rising Future of Japanese Specialty Cocktails

The world is starting to take notice of the luscious flavors that Japanese cocktails have to offer and shochu is no exception. Shochu is the next up-and-coming Japanese spirit distilled from various crops such as sweet potato (imo), rice (kome), barley (mugi), and other ingredients. 

Shochu Vs. Sake

With distilling techniques considered to have arrived in the Ryukyu island or modern-day Okinawa, shochu has since been produced in various parts of Japan with the main production coming from Kyushu island (considered the heartland of Japanese Shochu). This traditional spirit  showcases the aroma and flavours of the underlying spirit especially in the case of Honkaku Shochu, which is distilled only once.  Its alcoholic content of about 25% (up to 35-40% for Genshu bottlings) and variety of flavours makes it the perfect ingredient for a variety of unique cocktails.

Sake, the national drink of Japan, is exclusively fermented from rice and served slightly chilled or on its own at room temperature. Its alcohol content is lower, usually not exceeding 15% PVA. Unlike shochu, sake is more recognized internationally – and that is changing rapidly with Shochu gaining ground with Bartenders around the world and consumed by itself along with different cuisines

Best Way to Drink Shochu

Shochu is traditionally enjoyed with hot water (Oyuwari) as it enhances the aromas and its taste. But nowadays, it is popularly mixed with cold or room temperature water (Mizuwari), on the rocks and even with soda water for a bubbly surprise as a Shochu Highball. When preparing shochu cocktails however, light-tasting shochu is recommended to avoid overpowering the other ingredients. 

The Finest Shochu Cocktail Recipes

If you have all the ingredients on hand, compliment your shochu by trying these Japanese specialty cocktails at home!  The recipes are easy-to-follow and only take a few minutes to whip up.

Southern Shower

While shochu is best indulged on the rocks, this fruity cocktail easily converts your taste buds. As hinted by its name, the Southern Shower shochu cocktail will drown you in a pool of rich, tangy flavors that will remind you of those long-awaited holidays under the sun. Sweet potato shochu (imo shochu) is our go-to choice for this recipe.

You will need:

  • 30ml of Daiyame (Sweet potato shochu) 25%
  • 20ml of plum wine
  • 20ml of red grape juice
  • 5ml of  fresh lime juice
  • 5ml of Monin Gingerbread syrup
  • An orange slice, mint leaf, or edible flower (optional)


  1. Pour all ingredients into a shaker and add about 8-9 ice cubes.
  2. Shake well for 15 seconds and strain the drink into a chilled champagne coupe.
  3. Add the garnish on the rim of the glass - your choice of an orange slice, mint leaf, or edible flower.

Japanese Shochu Cocktails at Mizunara The Library by Advanced Mixology 

Article written by Advanced Mixology. November 20, 2020