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

  •   This was a genuine experience to learn about sake and taste sake that's only available in Japan. Our guide was very knowledgable and charismatic enough that made the visit to the brewery and sake tasting very entertaining.

    thumb Japanation
    3/16/2019
  •   My husband and I did the 3 hour Kyoto Sake Experience earlier this month - it was a wonderful 3 hours - we learnt so much about Sake and had a fun time learning and drinking.

    thumb Travelling_Tigers66
    3/11/2019
  •   Kotaro is an amazing tour guide who gave a lot of insight on the world of nihonshu. Would recommend.

    thumb JoshB2410
    3/08/2019
  •   This experience was the absolute highlight of my week long trip to Japan. I had high expectations going in due to the reviews and the experience easily exceeded those.

    thumb jpwhite6195
    3/07/2019
  •   Very well tailored and comprehensive tour that begins in the old sake brewery district in Fushimi - our amazing guide Kotaro took us around the brewery’s behind the scenes process while skipping the big crowds at the main area. Here we learned the complicated and...More

    thumb Teresa R
    3/07/2019
  •   Myself and a group of 5 friends booked onto the sake tour with Kotaro, although none of the other 5 of them had much experience of drinking sake. Kotaro was excellent and made the tour interesting and informative without making anyone feel out of their...More

    thumb Retep89
    3/04/2019
  •   These guys are great. A well prepared and structured tour to take you through sake for beginners, I feel like I can now order sake without fear. A great walk through the brewing district to set the scene was very interesting, and set the scene...More

    thumb Mark H
    3/01/2019
  •   We had a great time! The Tour guide was a lot of fun and very knowledgeable. Would definitely recommend to anyone who has the time and is in the area.

    thumb Road32087663964
    2/28/2019
  •   My husband and I had joined this tour on a whim. Having had no knowledge about sake, we thought it will be good to learn something new on our trip and what more fun can there be than learning about alcohol. Our guides Kotaro and...More

    thumb mad4bags
    2/25/2019
  •   Even if you aren’t a huge ‘sake fan’ (ie. me), the tour was still fantastic. I learned a lot and gained a new appreciation for it. I’ve done beer and wine tours in other countries and I’d say this one has been the best. Highly...More

    thumb Kelsey G
    2/22/2019
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