Umami Mart’s Shochu Gumi Club

Exploring the world of this distilled spirit, with origins tracing back to the 16th century in Japan

Once a food and drink blog that transformed into an online shop and brick-and-mortar bar, Oakland-based Umami Mart—founded by Kayoko Akabori and Yoko Kumano—centers on functional design, kitchen accessories, barware, food and beverages. Umami Mart’s ever-growing selection of shochu, and Akabori and Kumano’s interest in learning more, inspired them to write about the distilled spirit (most commonly made from barley, rice or sweet potato) and to …

CH Japan: Touring The Yayoi Shochu Distillery

Tasting a protected appellation only produced on the Amami archipelago

Sometimes considered Japan‘s national beverage, shochu outsells sake in its homeland and the most popular version has been listed among the 25 best-selling spirits in the world. A distilled liquor, shochu carries a 500-year history in Japan. (It’s also related to Korea’s soju.) During our CH Japan excursion to the island of Amami Ōshima—the largest of an archipelago in southern Japan—we toured the Yayoi Kokuto Distillery. It’s …

Touring Ancram, New York’s Hillrock Estate Distillery

The home of authentic, delicious "field-to-glass" whiskies from the Hudson Valley

Stretching along 100 acres of sloping farmland, Hillrock Estate Distillery produces some of the finest whiskies to come from the Hudson Valley, the entire state of New York, and arguably the country. Beyond this plot in the town of Ancram (which houses the distillery, barrel house, visitor center and an elegant Georgian home dating back to 1806), Hillrock owns and leases another 850 acres nearby—a …