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

  •   So very glad I chose this tour. I had no knowledge of the creative process required for sake production. Kotaro painstakingly walked us through the entire “brewing” procedure and the differences among the many types of sake created with different rices, percentages of polishing, pasteurization...More

    thumb maggie44113
    3/14/2020
  •   The Sake experience in Kyoto gave us the perfect Chance to learn everything we wanted to know about Sake. Our Host Kotaro was very friendly, answering all of our questions. I liked the variety of Sakes we got to taste and especially the food-pairing was...More

    thumb Leonferdinandcorin
    3/11/2020
  •   Very informative tour and tasting. The guide, Kotaro, spoke perfect English and was very knowledgeable. The regular museum was closed (like most of Japan at the moment) but we still managed to visit another brewery instead. The tastings were great - very different styles of...More

    thumb GreenSandwich
    3/10/2020
  •   Highly informative tour with excellent explanations behind the different types of sake. Find out which you like and how to find it in a bottle shop!

    thumb jamesh202020
    3/09/2020
  •   We had a fantastic time during our insider sake experience tour. Kotaro was very knowledgeable and friendly and made the experience very enjoyable for us. We learned the true way to enjoy sake both by itself and with food thanks to Kotaro. I would definitely...More

    thumb MrPedroB
    3/03/2020
  •   Extremely informative to finally understand the various types of sake and choose your favourite and how to combine with food. Highly recommended!

    thumb marcofP4557RC
    3/03/2020
  •   Kotaro was very knowledgeable and described the tour very well. He answered all of my questions and helped out a great deal with my understanding. I would recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in learning about sake

    thumb Sampenna
    3/03/2020
  •   The tour included a visit to a brewery with our guide, Asahi, giving a very informed overview of how Sake is made. He was able to answer any questions we had and made it an easy process to understand. There were tastings of 3 Sakes...More

    thumb GharghurMark
    3/01/2020
  •   The many reviews saying how good this tour is are spot on: this is a very good tour. Kotaro is very knowledgeable, ready to answer questions from all, whether general, technical or historical. The info he provided, particularly with the food pairing (which was a...More

    thumb og646
    2/22/2020
  •   Totally awesome experience. Everything was made clear. Meeting point was easy to find - just a couple of hundred metres from the nearest train station. The tour itself was extremely informative and enjoyable. There was two tastings involved - one at the main Sake brewery...More

    thumb therealbogeyman
    2/19/2020

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