Shochu Cocktails At The Source By Wolfgang Puck In Penn Quarter

Last month, The Source by Wolfgang Puck revamped its lounge menu, going from pizzas to more traditional izakaya (Japanese bar snacks) offerings. Along with the new food, the lounge bolstered its drink list by adding a list of high-end sakes and introducing shochu.

Though the distilled spirit–which is more potent than sake, but served in the same small glasses–has outpaced most other alcohols in popularity in its home country and even inspired its own genre of specialty bars, it's been slower to catch on in Washington. Despite its high alcohol content, shochu's light flavor makes it the perfect companion for the spice-driven, flavor-packed lounge menu.

Watari Bune, which is distilled from rice ($12), has bright, fruity notes of banana and pineapple. It's a refreshing palate cleanser for heavier dishes like the crispy pork belly in soft, steamed buns ($8), or rich, buttery pan-fried noodles with spicy chile squid ($8).

Barley-based Yokaichi ($8) gets its nutty flavor from the grain's roasting process. The more complex flavor augments lighter dishes like sushi rolls and the spicy tuna tartare ($6). It also brings out the char of meats cooked on the robata grill.

The lounge hosts a daily happy hour offering any three dishes for $20.10. Think of them as food to shochu on.

The Source by Wolfgang Puck, 575 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (entrance on 6th St.); 202-637-6100 or