Shochu and Awamori Tasting Contest Crowns Winner at Kitano Hotel

More than a week of shochu and awamori tasting and educational events ended last night at the Kitano Hotel with the first-ever Shochu and Awamori Tasting Contest. Congratulations to Seikai Ishizuka for outlasting the other 41 contestants in a lively final round.

shochu, awamori, Kitano, NYC, Japanese spirits

Seikai Ishizuka, winner of New York's first Shochu and Awamori Tasting Contest

For having the most correct answers in guessing 13 different shochu and awamori brands, Seikai, which fittingly means “correct” in Japanese, won $2,000 and two round-trip tickets to Japan on All Nippon Airways.

awamori, shochu, NYC, Kitano, Japanese spirits

The final-round contestants in the Shochu and Awamori Tasting Contest

Shochu, which is a liquor distilled from various ingredients such as rice, sweet potatoes, barley, and sugar, currently is considered more popular in Japan than sake. Sixteen shochu and awamori producers were in New York conducting outreach to educate bars, restaurants, liquor stores, and the general public about the attributes of this Japanese spirit. There’s more on that outreach to come, so stay tuned to JapanCulture•NYC.