Friday, May 9, 2008

Hooked on Shochu!

I'm not a big drinker but I have to tell you that the shochu cocktails using the smooth Japan spirit being popularized at the new Shochu (3313 N. Clark, 773-348-3313) the fashionable American Shochu Lounge that serves Asian-inspired small plates, have me going back for more. Got to check it out! Take a look at the drink menu here. And visit their website here. I recommend trying the flights which come in three's and allow you to taste the differences between varieties. If you're with a group, have everyone order a different selection before you move on to the mixed cocktails.

Don't confuse Shochu with Sake! Shochu is a distilled beverage similar to vodka, but made from different ingredients such as rice, sweet potato, barley, and brown sugar. The best thing about shochu, they say, is that it’s actually healthy for you! It has 1/3 the calories of vodka and keeps your hangovers to a minimum. (We’ve had personal experience with this, and it’s true!!!) It also produces an enzyme called Urikanase, which allegedly breaks down blood clots and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes. (We hope that we don't have personal experience with this!)

I predict that you'll be seeing shochu popping up on cocktail menus all over the country, but you can find if first (well among the first and certainly with the most options, since Shochu offers nearly 20 different varities) in Chicago, at Shochu!

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