Archive for February, 2007

Liquor Shops: Nagashima Saketen

February 26, 2007



Nagashima Saketen was founded in 1969
The second generation, Takahiro Nagashima (39 in 2007), took over the management in 1994 after 2 years spent in Bordeaux, France where he successfully graduated from the Oenology Faculty.
Takahiro Nagashima offers not only great and equal service whatever your budget, but will gracefully keep you informed on his blog or by direct e-mail upon request.
Apart of overhauling his father’s business, notably introducing credit-card payment (not always available in other shops), he has been actively promoting local products over the years through tatsing parties, breweries and cellar visits and restaurants/bars recommendations.
As for Shizuoka Shoch, he is a rare promoter in Shizuoka and presently offers the following:
Sugunishiki, Hakuin Masamune, Hana No Mai.
Apart of of wine (great rack prices!), sake, shochu, beers, spirits, he also offers someinteresting fresh cheeses and even bread cooked by local French Chef friends!


Nagashima Saketen
Address: 420-0804 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi-Ku, Ryuunan, 1-12-7
Tel.: 054-2459260
Fax: 054-2459252
Open every day: 11:00~21:00
Credit Cards ok

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting 2: Wasabi Sake/Bandai Brewery

February 14, 2007



The name is a misnomer as it is Shochu made from Wasabi/Japanese Green Horseradish, a lot of which is grown not far from the Bandai Brewery near Shuzenji in Izu Peninsula.
I discovered it in Fall 2006 as I visited the very famous hot spa city.
On my way back to Shizuoka City I showed it to Ken San, the owner of Sushiya no Ichi who was impressed at discovering it, too. As he could not wait to taste it, we opened the bottle at once. He served it straight with ice and a dash of freshly-grated wasabi. A beauty!
If you wish to sample it, you had better order it directly. It is quite cheap, actually (around 500 yen for a 720ml bottle)!
Bandai Brewery, Shizuoka Ken, Izu Shi, Toshikawa, 34
Tel.: 0558-720050

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting 1: Douman/Tenjigura-Hamamatsu Brewery

February 13, 2007



Here is a fine example of what can be brewed with first class sake white lees (sake kasu)!
Douman is the name of a rare crab found in Hamanako Lake, a sea water lake famous for its oysters and eels.
With an alcoholic content of 28 degrees, it is easy to drink. It leaves a soft, almost sweet lingering taste in the palate. I enjoyed it yesterday with a curry. Surprisingly enough the curry did not compete with its taste. I drank it straight over a jugfull of ice. A great shochu for ladies and beginners!
Produced by Tenjigura-Hamamatsu Brewery, in Hamamatsu City, Tenjin Machi, 3-57.
Bottled in 720ml and 1.8l
Can be ordered online.

How to drink and taste Shochu?

February 8, 2007



If you use shochu simply as an additive, or to quickly reach an irresponsible inebriety, just skip reading the following!

-As explained before, shochu comes in four main varieties: imo/tubers, mugi/wheat-grain, kome/rice and finally in what I call “fancy shochu” (which is not a detrimental term at all!).
-So, first decide on the variety. As far as quality is concerned, shochu in Shizuoka Prefecture is only produced by Sake Brewers, which means higher quality and dependability.
-Once you have chosen your baby, first pour a tiny bit inside a a normal glas, turn it around until the bouquet (smell) reaches your nostrils (smokers, get out of here!). Taste it sat room temperature. It will give you a kick, but you will learn its truecharacter.
-Next, if you are a true shochu lover, fill a large glass with ice (one very large block is best), pour a reasonable quantity of shochu on it, and drink it slowly through (or around) the ice. As the ice slowly melts, the shochu taste will subtly change, giving you an indication, whether you want to drink it straight, on the rocks, or with a certain amount of ice and water, or added with warm water.
-After all, you are in Shizuoka, so why don’t you try the “Shizuoka Hai”. Pour hot or ice-cold Shizuoka green tea, or better, mixed with powdered “macha” tea. You might get hooked!
-The other step is to find what goes best with shochu (as regards your personal taste): ginger ale, oolong tea, soda,… There is no end to it!

Shochu for St. Valentine?

February 4, 2007


With Saint Valentine around the corner, some Shizuoka Brewers have come up with a new way to entice customers to buy their products not only with sake, but also shochu: personalized bottles.
Bottles vary from 300ml and less to 720ml. They all contain some kind of message on their labels with a feminine overtone.
I was surprised to notice upon inspection that the shochu offered was of a high quality for such a mass sale oriented seasonal product!
They certainly will help recuiting new adepts!

What is Shochu made of?

February 2, 2007

Shochu is the other Japanese indigenous alcoholic drink, but unlike sake it is distiled and contains 25% to 40%, sometimes more, alcohol. It can made from almost any kinds of vegetables or fruit. I even found one made from Shiitake mushrooms called “Asadachi” (“Asadachi” is what happens to healthy men when they wake up!)
But for people who want a more complete explanation, by all means refer to John Gauntner’s great website!

As I said before, try Shizuoka Schochu made from rice first. It is comparatively sweet and definitely the best of its kind!