Pouring milk in iced Latte
Food - Drink
The Japanese Drink Made By Soaking Coffee Beans In Liquor
Infusing alcohol simply involves soaking an ingredient in a bath of booze, and while you may know some classic coffee-infused liqueurs like Kahlúa, you might not be familiar with Japan’s coffee shochu. This clever combination of high-quality java and one of the country's most beloved spirits truly packs a flavor punch.
Shochu is a liquor that can be made from rice, buckwheat, barley, sweet potato, sugarcane, and/or other ingredients, with an ABV between 25% to 37% and a flavor like a combination of vodka and whiskey. Coffee shochu is shochu infused with whole roasted coffee beans, which tints the color of the spirit to a dark brown.
Well-made coffee shochu has a balanced flavor profile where the coffee doesn't overwhelm the shochu. Hong Kong restaurant Yardbird’s famous version was once made with rock sugar, coffee beans, rice shochu, and buckwheat shochu and took three months of steeping time, but other recipes can be finished in just a week.
After making your own coffee shochu or buying some, the best way to appreciate it is by pouring some into a chilled glass with ice, though it is also ripe for cocktail experimentation. You can even make a shochu latte by combining the liquor with ice and milk in a tall glass, or combine it with a tonic for an alcoholic coffee tonic.