Gin is in and rye is fly, but American cocktail enthusiasts are beginning to pay attention to lesser known spirits produced in other countries as well -- say, Peru's pisco, Brazil's cachaca and Japan's shochu. Although shochu, a clear spirit many people compare to vodka, has been popular in Japan for over 400 years, it's just beginning to earn a little interest and respect here in the States for its history, complexity and versatility.
Want to learn more about it? Easy. Chef-owner Nobuo Fukuda of Nobuo at Teeter House is holding a six-course, prix-fixe dinner with shochu pairings on Friday, November 16, at 6:30 p.m. The price is $120 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Read on for juicy details about the dinner and a bit more info on shochu.
There are two types of shochu -- single-distilled or mutli-distilled -- but for this dinner, Fukuda is sticking to single-distilled, the older method, which produces a superior product called Otsu-rui or Honkaku, which means "the real deal." Single distillation shochu, which better reflects the idiosyncrasies of the original raw material used, can be likened, in many ways, to single malt scotch.
Multi-distillation shochus are the ones most often compared to vodka. They tend to be light and have far less bouquet or flavor.
The dinner will begin with a short overview presentation of shochu, delivered by a shochu expert from Japan, who will also discuss the various styles and pairings along the way. Given their vast differences, shochus are artisanal expressions of time and place.
The courses will look something like this:
1) Hassun (collection of small, seasonal appetizers), rice shochu (similar to daiginjo sake) 2) Sashimi (5 or 6 styles), 2 styles of barley shochu 3) Chicken (prepared two or three ways), purple sweet potato shochu 4) Oxtail, red sweet potato shochu 5) Pork belly with rice, soba shochu 6) Miso-marinated foie gras with fruit, sweet potato shochu aged in wood
If you're interested, call 602-254-0600 for reservations asap. Seating is limited to 24 people.