In a previous post we discussed the two main types of shochu—korui shochu (甲類焼酎) and otsurui shochu (乙類焼酎). In addition to these varieties, there is also Okinawan Awamori (泡盛), which is a topic for another post. This week we would like to focus on a product from Tokushima Prefecture called Awa-no-Kaori Sudachi-chu (阿波の香り すだち酎. Like Dabada Hiburi (ダバダ火振), this is a shochu-based beverage from the island of Shikoku. Unlike Dadada Hiburi, however, this product is made using korui shochu (甲類焼酎), which is a neutral spirit made through continuous distillation.
Awa-no-Kaori Sudachi-chu is made from the following ingredients: korui shochu, sugars, sudachi juice (from Tokushima Prefecture), acidulants, and flavorings (amino acids, etc.). The drink is classified as a liqueur. It was introduced into the market in 1985 and is a hit product for Nisshin Shurui (日新酒類株式会社), a brewery that also makes nihonshu (sake), sweet-potato shochu made using pot stills, which is known as otsurui shochu, or honkaku shochu (本格焼酎), and more recently gin featuring local ingredients, including sudachi. Sudachi is a citrus fruit native to Japan and closely associated with Tokushima Prefecture, which produces about 90% of it! It is lime-colored and often used as a flavor enhancer, for which it is excellently suited, for as Trini Lopez might have put it, “Sudachi plant very pretty, and the sudachi flowers are sweet, but the fruit of the sudachi is impossible to eat.”
As sudachi and other ingredients are added to the neutral spirit, the flavor of the fruit comes through, but its aggressive sourness is tempered, and a slight bitterness emerges that is quite pleasant. It tastes very much like a low-alcohol gin, with the ABV coming in at only 20%. It has a similar flavor profile to Suntory’s Sui Gin, which was reviewed here.
Although not a sophisticated beverage, it is an enjoyable drink to sip on during a long hot summer.
Nota bene: The brewery recommends having it with soda water, but that tends to dilute the flavor a little too much. Straight or on the rocks proved to be more enjoyable.