A well-made sour cocktail is an elegant sip to order. Regardless if it's a classic Whiskey Sour, New York Sour, or a Pisco Sour, they all look the part. The formula of base spirit, sweetener, and sour is a perfect match.
In this case, the Shochu Sour (or Yuzu Sour) follows the template while keeping the recipe Japan-themed.
It is based on the Japanese distilled liquor Shochu, sweetened with a yuzu and honey preserve, and uses a mix of yuzu and lime juice as a sour part.
And as this recipe is full of exotic ingredients, let's start by clearing up some terms.
What is Shochu?
Shochu is a distilled liquor from Japan. In fact, Shochu is even the most popular alcoholic in the country of the rising sun. More popular than Sake (Nihnoshu), Japanese Whisky, and beer.
Shochu can be made from a variety of different ingredients. The most common ones are sweet potato, rice, and barley.
Depending on the production method, Shochu is categorized as Honkaku (single-distillation) or Korui (multiple distillations) Shochu.
Honkaku Shochu is regarded as superior because it's the traditional way of producing the spirit. Due to the single-step distillation, there's more flavor left in the liquor. Thus, Honkaku Shochu also has more character, aroma, and taste.
Which Shochu in a Shochu Sour?
Shochu comes in a great variety. To name just a few of them, here's the list of the most common types:
- Imo Shochu (made from sweet potato)
- Mugi Shochu (made from barley )
- Kome Shochu (made from rice)
- Kokuto Shochu (made from brown sugar)
- Soba Shochu (made from buckwheat)
- Shiso Shochu (made from Shiso herb)
Each of these has a unique set of aromas and flavors. So picking a Shochu for a Shochu cocktail can be tricky.
In this Shochu Sour, I prefer to use a kome Shochu. Kome is a rice-based Shochu. If you taste this spirit neat, you can taste the slight sweetness of the rice shining through.
Alternatively, you could also opt for a Mugi Shochu. This type is made from barley and also has a slightly sweet taste. But overall, mugi is a bit less complex than kome.
What is yuzu?
Yuzu is a citrus fruit that commonly grows in East Asia. The yuzu fruit probably originated from China. But today, the yellow citrus fruit is most popular in Japan and Korea.
Like lemons, the yuzu fruit is rarely eaten by itself. Instead, the more fragrant peels and tangy juice are used in many food and beverage recipes.
The taste of yuzu is best described as a cross between grapefruit and mandarin. And to properly infuse these flavors, we do not use yuzu juice but also a yuzu honey preserve as ingredients in our Shochu Sour.
Yuzu honey preserve
Yuzu honey preserve is a delightful spread on toast. But it's also a beautiful topping for yogurt or sweetener in tea or cocktails. To make this delicious preserve, you only need honey and yuzu fruit.
- 100g Yuzu fruit
- 100g Honey
First, wash the yuzu fruit gently and thoroughly. Then cut it into thin slices and make sure to remove any seeds.
In the next step, add the thinly cut yuzu slices into a mason jar and cover them with honey completely.
Let the mixture sit in your fridge for 48 to 72 hours, and your yuzu honey preserve is ready to be used.
- 2 oz Kome Shochu
- 0.5 oz Lemon juice
- 0.25 oz Yuzu juice
- 0.25 oz Yuzu honey preserve
- 1 Egg white
- 3 dash Angostura bitters
- Add Shochu, lemon juice, yuzu juice, yuzu honey preserve, and egg white into a cocktail shaker and dry shake without ice for 15 seconds.
- Open the shaker, add ice and shake again for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with Angostura bitters.