I used to tell girls I was “big
in Japan”..who knew that years later
I would star in a televised
Japanese travel documentary.
The directors told me
two things…#1. real Japanese
drink Shochu…not sake…
and #2. I needed a haircut
Mesh & Bone Shochu
Barley, barley malt, spring water
The raw material for Mesh & Bone shochu is barley (mugi). Highest-quality barley is washed, soaked, steamed, and cooled. Spores of koji mold (both black and white varieties) are then added to the prepared barley. After two days, the barley has been converted to barley koji, its starches having been converted to glucose (saccharification). Yeast and spring water are then added. Active fermentation then begins and the glucose converts into alcohol. The fermentation must occur at a temperature of between 77 to 82º F and must be monitored hour by hour. This process lasts for five days, and produces the first batch of moromi (fermentation mash). Citric acid, formed as a by-product of the fermentation, helps protect the moromi from bacteria.
Spring water and more steamed barley are then added to the finished first moromi for a second process of saccharification and fermentation, again at a temperature of 77-82º F. This second process lasts for fourteen days under very close monitoring.
Once the second moromi has finished fermentation, it is distilled in a traditional single pot-still. This imparts a richer flavor than distilling multiple times through a patent still, which is typically used for mass production. Therefore, our final product is classified as a honkaku [authentic] shōchū). The undiluted distillate, called genshu, has an alcohol level of 44-60%. Immediately after distillation, the genshu is cooled and filtered to soften the assertive flavor and aroma of the barley and to remove any traces of fats (oils) from the barley kernels.
The genshu is stored to mature for three to six months, when the flavors and aromas mellow. It is then blended with other matured genshus by our shōchū kura tōji (master shochu blender), and diluted with spring water to reduce the final alcohol level to 25%. After a final filtration, the now finished shochu is bottled, labeled, and ready to ship.