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!

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Our Sake Tour Reviews

  •   Highly recommend this tour. Kotaro was the perfect guide and incredibly knowledgeable. A great opportunity to learn the complexities of the sake varieties and brewing process.

    thumb Coastal02482194200
    10/13/2019
  •   Thanks for the nice Sake Experience. We really liked the setup to find the right sake for you and how to recognise it in the shop or on a menu. We tasted sake in combination with food, which brought a nice extra layer to the...More

    thumb Martijnv1135
    10/12/2019
  •   This was definitely a worthwhile experience to both learn about and enjoy sake. I came away knowing much better about my sake preferences and how to find them!

    thumb TS7521
    10/12/2019
  •   This is an excellent way to learn about sake. We can now read a sale label and understand what we are looking at plus we know what type of sake we like. Well worth the money.

    thumb PamelaBM1959
    10/12/2019
  •   A very informative experience. I learned a lot about how sake is produced, how the taste varies, and how to choose which sake to purchase. The best part was obviously the sake tasting, which included some quite unique varieties. The guide was very well-informed and...More

    thumb Courtney C
    10/11/2019
  •   Kotaro and Marika were fantastic guides on this interesting and informative tour. Had a great time learning more about the Nihonshu-making process (sake just means alcohol in Japanese), the history of it in Fushimi, the different types of Nihonshu, and how to pair food with...More

    thumb alexaroundworld
    10/09/2019
  •   This was the most educational tour I think I have ever been on! Not only did I learn so much about Sake and Japanese culture and history, but it was also great value for money. I highly recommend the 3 hour tour, we almost went...More

    thumb kjonsson2015
    10/08/2019
  •   We booked last minute onto this tasting and only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner on our trip around Japan. Kotaro was a great host. We learnt about “mouth seasoning” , how best to drink sake and how its taste also changes with...More

    thumb KerryQ24
    10/08/2019
  •   We visited the Kyoto Insider Sake Experience (KISE) as a large group of 6 people (two couples and grown children - drinking age in Japan is 20, so this isn't for kids or teens). We were all eager to learn a bit more about a...More

    thumb PKRead26
    10/07/2019
  •   We had initially been unable to attend, but Kotaro was so kind, and we had been able to reschedule for another day, and we're so happy for it!!! It was so much fun tasting all the sake, and figuring out how to read the labels,...More

    thumb thisisnichie
    10/07/2019

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