Difference between Sake and Shochu

Sake or 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.

Deepen Your Knowledge

Want to learn more about Japanese sake? Do not miss visiting Fushimi sake district while in Kyoto! Fushimi is the origin of sake, that has the most history in Japan.

When you are visiting Fushimi, why don’t you join Kyoto Insider Sake Experience and learn about sake? On our tour you can learn the difference among various kinds of sake. And you will be able to find your most favorite bottle!

sake tasting

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Our Sake Tour Reviews

  •   Extremely well done A great education and a lot of fun. We have already been able to put what we learned to good use.

    thumb Dave M
    5/18/2019
  •   Great tour, guide is very knowledgeable on sake, it's origin, the means of production etc. Great tasting experience where you can taste the nionshu alone and then with small bites for a food accord which enhance the tasting! Definitely a must!

    thumb amthieu_pl
    5/13/2019
  •   We got a very good overview over the different types of Sake. The Sake we tasted were of various sorts and very good quality. I personally very much recommend to take the tour, highly educational as well.

    thumb Traveler25639065305
    5/10/2019
  •   A excellent tour, we had a very thorough tour of the Gekkeikan Okura museum & factory and we got to see and understand how Sake was and is made today. This was followed by a very well guided tasting and food pairing session with Kotaro...More

    thumb OTdeW
    5/09/2019
  •   I thought I knew a bit about sake, but that was clearly not the case. The course with Kotaro was simply amazing. If you would like to know more about sake, I would definitely recommend this experience!

    thumb azizfirat
    5/08/2019
  •   Kotaro was the perfect host. Outstanding English with an incredible depth of knowledge and experience. Gentle sense of humour and very kind with the complete novice. One of the best tours I've done. No question. If you want a "starters" guide to the complexity of...More

    thumb D6114PGdavidj
    5/07/2019
  •   This is one of the best drinking tours I have been on - ever! My husband and I have always enjoyed sake, but we have such a better understanding of the brewing process, the types and the best foods to pair with which after our...More

    thumb Kristen Z
    5/07/2019
  •   The tour was phenomenal and couldn't have been better! It was just me and friend on the tour, so it luckily turned into a private tour! It really went into depth on the history, the in depth process and how to pair each sake appropriately....More

    thumb Allison N
    5/05/2019
  •   The Kyoto insider sake experience is excellent. The explanations are very clear and smartly associated to the application with tasting of all the different types of sake. I really enjoyed it. This is definitely a worthy experience to keep once you return home.

    thumb C1399GQjeand
    5/05/2019
  •   I signed up for the sake tour for something to do in Kyoto, because I was in Japan, and because I always enjoyed Sake but knew very little about it. Kotaro was super knowledgeable, friendly, and made the afternoon a blast. Kyoto is one of...More

    thumb Mel b
    5/04/2019

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