Sake VS Shochu – What’s the Difference?

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Sake vs Shochu

Do you know the difference between sake and shochu? There are alcohol that widely drunken in Japan. Here we introduce what it the major difference between these two drinks!

Difference of Producing Process

The biggest difference between sake and shochu is the way to produce. When classified according to the manufacturing method, sake will be included in the category “brewed liquor”, and shochu falls into the category “distilled liquor”.

So what is the difference between “brewed liquor” and “distilled liquor”?
“Brewed wine” is alcohol made by fermenting cereals and fruits with yeast power.
Alcohol is made with fermentation of sugar taken out from ingredient. For example, wine is made by fermentation of sugar contained in grapes. Sake is a bit special in the process of making. Rice does not contain sugar, so they firstly saccharify the starch then fermentate.

“Distilled liquor” is a liquor that made brewed liquor “distilled”.
“Distillation” is the process of cooling the gas formed by evaporating the liquid and returning it to the liquid again. By utilizing the difference in evaporating temperature, it is possible to take out highly pure liquid.

It contains water and alcohol in brewed alcohol, so as you raise the temperature, alcohol with low evaporation temperature evaporates first. In other words, by distilling the brewed liquor, it makes sake with higher alcohol purity.

Difference of Ingredient and Strength of Alcohol

The difference between sake and shochu is not only about how to make it. There are also big differences in ingredients. While rice is the source of sake, shochu often uses potatoes and grain as ingredients. It seems that there are many kinds of ingredients for shochu such as potato shochu and barley shochu. By the way, brewed sake made from rice would be rice shochu if you distilled it.

When comparing alcohol percentage of sake and shochu, distilled liquor is higher. Alcohol content of Japanese sake is generally 15 to 16 percent, while shochu is around 25 percent.
Therefore, there are differences in how to drink as well. Sake is commonly drink straight as it is, but in the case of shochu, people usually drink it mixing with ice in “rock”, cold water, hot water, green tea.

Join Our Sake Tour in Kyoto!

With Kyoto Insider Sake Experience’s brewery tours, you can get closer to the secrets of Fushimi Kyoto and its sake brewing history, whilst enjoying learning about and tasting all the different sake varieties that can be found here.

When visiting Kyoto, you can’t miss a sake tour of Fushimi – Fushimi is the origin of sake, that has the most history in Japan. So why not join us on a hunt for the area’s best sake, and best combination with food pairing session and find your favourite along the way?

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Our Sake Tour Reviews

  • star rating  Kotaro was an excellent guide, taking us around Fushimi village and sharing the history, process, and intricacies of sake culture. We learned so much due to his detailed explanations. The... read more

    Lauren K
    2021-12-01
  • star rating  Wow! What an incredible time we had! If you’re interested in learning about Japanese Sake or to even taste a variety (including aged sake), then this experience is definitely for... read more

    Danielle D
    2021-12-01
  • star rating  This was a very informational experience! Our tour guide not only was knowledgeable about sake but also showed us what to look for on our own when we were shopping... read more

    Chelsea B
    2021-11-01
  • star rating  Highly recommend! This experience exceeded our expectations. We learned so much about sake and are now much better equipped to pick out the sake we like at the store (before... read more

    Rachel G
    2021-11-01
  • star rating  This is a highly enjoyable, informative, and local Kyoto experience. Kotaro was an incredible guide, having grown up in the Kyoto sake brewing district. He shares his knowledge for sake... read more

    Helen G
    2021-11-01
  • star rating  Hashimoto-san showed me around in the old traditional Sake making district Fushimi and explained me a lot about the Sake making process. I could also visit a bar where I... read more

    miclsc
    2021-04-13
  • star rating  This is a must-do experience in Kyoto. The best part of the tour is that while there is tasting, there is also so much history and knowledge you acquire along... read more

    Crystal M
    2021-04-05
  • star rating  Hashimoto-san showed me around in the old traditional Sake making district Fushimi and explained me a lot about the Sake making process. I could also visit a bar where I... read more

    M. S.
    2021-04-01
  • star rating  This is a must-do experience in Kyoto. The best part of the tour is that while there is tasting, there is also so much history and knowledge you acquire along... read more

    Crystal M
    2021-04-01
  • star rating  This is the must-do-tour in your life if you are interested in Japanese sake and culture. I am Japanese. And always I wonder about Japanese sake cuz I’ve never met... read more

    Kwbtars
    2020-07-17

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