YES! There are Other Asian Liquors that are Not Sake!

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YES! There are Other Asian Liquors that are Not Sake!

Aside from the famed Japanese whisky and Eastern Asian sakes, there are several delicious liquors made in Eastern Asia. While Japanese whisky is made similarly to other places in the world with wheat, barley or rye, there are several distilled spirits made from many other complex sugars. So let’s talk about them:

Soju

Soju is a distilled rice spirit. It is predominantly made in South Korea. It is the largest spirit on the market. Soju tends to be slightly sweeter than say brandy or vodka. It also is usually around 20% ABV unlike the 35-40% that is vodka. You may not know this, but Soju is actually the most sold spirit in the world! One of the most popular brands, Jinro can be found world-wide!

Arrack

This is quite an interesting one. I would compare arrack to Caribbean rum. Arrack is made in Southeast Asia from coconut palm sap, rice and or sugar cane….sound familiar? This goes extremely well in some tiki-type cocktails and of course, as most island drinks are, this one is strong! Coming in hot at 50% ABV, you do not want to mess with the arrack!

Indian Whiskey

In India, whiskey is one of the most prominent liquors. However, it’s not really whiskey at all. Made from molasses and malt, this liquor is an up and coming must-try! As it becomes more and more popular in the European market, it cannot be named Whiskey so it is called “Indian Spirit.” But if you get the chance to try it, one of their top selling brands “Officer’s Choice” is available in the EU. 

Baijiu

Baijiu translates directly to English as “White Liquor.” It was created in the Sichuan Province in central China. During the rule of the Han dynasty. Fermenters took sorghum, wheat, rice, or corn and fermented it using a solid fermentation agent known as qu. Combining these two created huangjiu, or “yellow wine.” This became the base of Baijiu. Qu was made from. Eventually they got smart and distilled the huangjiu. This then became Baijiu. Baijuiu is now a staple on every Chinese table either as a shot or in a cocktail!

These are some really cool products that are not always easy to find. But when you do get the chance, here are some great cocktails to make using these products:

The Kopcha Cocktail:

By Cocktails India

1.5oz Officer’s Choice Whiskey

8 strawberry chunks

1/2oz lime juice

Top with 7Up or Sprite

The Hot River

By Sidechef

1.5oz Baijiu

3/4oz St. Germaine

2oz pineapple juice

1/2oz grenadine

Top with carbonated water

Garnish with a cucumber

Arrack Punch

By The Educated BarFly

1.5 oz Batavia Arrack

1/2 oz Jamaica Rum

3/4 oz Lemon Juice

3/4 oz Simple Syrup

1/2 oz Pineapple Juice

Top with fresh fruits

The Soju Martini

By What to Munch

2oz Soju

1oz St. Germaine

1/2oz Cointreau

Garnish with lemon peel

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