January 13, 2012

Shochu Stop: Oyuwari

by Washi Washino

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Happy new year! How did you spend your new year’s day?

The start of my new year was the worst. On new year’s eve, I was at my a party in SF and drank many whisky cocktails that my friend made. I enjoyed the cocktail and the party, and then went to the BART (the Bay Area train system) station around 3 am. There were still many people in the station, yeah, it’s a new year’s day. I was pretty cheerful at the point, but when I got on the train, I felt so sleepy but also sick. I shouldn’t have sat down, which made me even more sick. You know what happened next… yeah, I threw up everything on the floor.

You can guess the look on my wife’s face, sitting right next to me.

Back home, I washed my dirty clothes, and slept on the couch that night. Then I got sick again. I really apologize to my wife and people who cleaned up my puke on the train.

Anyway, let me introduce to you oyuwari, that heals your weary body and soul.

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Normal style of oyuwari.

First, what is oyuwari? Oyuwari is shochu mixed with hot water. You can mix any kinds of shochu with hot water, but imo (sweet potato) shochu is the best shochu for oyuwari, because it has plenty of aroma and sweetness. The hot water makes the aroma bright yet mild. Oyuwari reveals the shochu’s true characters, so it’s a great way to differentiate between good shochus and bad.

Bartender’s tip: it’s pretty important that you pour four parts of hot water in the glass first, then six parts shochu. Don’t mix it. Shochu is heavier than hot water, so it will blend with the hot water naturally. Wait five minutes and enjoy the aroma before it is at the right temperature to drink. The result is a mild tasting, warm shochu drink.

And I would like to introduce a special oyuwari today. It’s called maewari oyuwari which means oyuwari that is pre-mixedYou should combine shochu and water 6:4 and infuse it overnight in a bottle or something like ceramic pot that shades the light. Filtered soft water is best for it. It’s the best way to serve it 24 hours later, and still ok to serve it a few days later — but not a week later, that is too long.

How to serve it? It’s already mixed with water, so you can just pour it to your kettle and warm it up to about 120°F on your stove top.

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Portable stove you can get at Asian market.

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I hate American measurement units.

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Use burning charcoal to keep the kettle warm.

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Above style is too special, not available in your house, but if you have passion, you can do it.

Ahh… the aroma transports me to the spa, or Hawaii. Oyuwari is the best for winter, especially for the cold nights when your wife or partner is mad at you, or after a tough day at work. Just pour shochu into a glass with hot water, and the oyuwari will deeply heal your weary body and soul.

Sigh.

Shochu doesn’t cheat you. Shochu always stands by you. Take your shochu time.

*Washi Washino is a certified Shochu Advisor. Find him behind the bar from Monday-Friday at Ippuku in Berkeley.

4 Comments

  • Posted January 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Sorry Washi! I made myself sick too… No more whisky sours – next party we’ll do it right and go with shochu from the start

  • Washi Washino
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    No! Will! That’s my fault! It was delicious, so I drank too much, but sounds good that next party goes with shochu. Let’s do that!

  • kishi
    Posted January 15, 2012 at 3:56 am

    I am intrigued.

  • Posted April 16, 2012 at 6:08 am

    I am a recent shochu convert and I love it. Oyuwari is a favourite, although I never knew how to make it. I’ll try it as it is still cold in London. Thanks.

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