Sunday night the Japan Society, Gohan Society, and SIP Japan together hosted a nomi hodai (all you can drink) shochu event at Apartment 13, a restaurant in Alphabet City. Ten different distillers attended and each brought 3 to 5 different brands of shochu to share. On top of shochu neat, on the rocks, and with water, you could also try specialty cocktails made by house mixologists. Apartment 13 also had free appetizers that were both creative and varied. Basics like black cod worked well with shochu and they made it possible to try out raw oysters with shochu. It was an extremely rewarding pairing!
It was very evident that the distillers had their own employees staffing the event. Everyone was incredibly knowledgeable about their product and about shochu in general. There were two standouts from the night. Helios Distillery had a Kokuto (brown sugar) ume shu that takes a sweet drink and makes it sweeter… but in a good way. Another big surprise was Iichiko. To be honest, up until Sunday all I’ve tasted from Iichiko was their Iichiko Silhouette. This is one of the most mass produced shochu brands, made by the largest Japanese shochu makers in the world. Silhouette was not a memorable experience, so I believed that their other brands were also very well marketed and unremarkable. This was not the case. Kurobin was definitely an entertaining experience, and my reaction to one sip of Frasco was that it is “dangerous”. Iichiko Frasco is one of the highest proof brands of shochu and it is extremely easy to drink. Frasco reminded me of an extremely expensive vodka. Reviews coming soon.
Check out the pictures of the event below. They show the event far better than I can describe. If attending one of these events in the future, it definitely pays to show up on time or even early. We were one of the first to arrive and had 7 distillers and 3 waitresses at our complete disposal for half an hour. The level of attention was definitely worth the awkwardness of showing up to the party early.