After three years of research, Christopher Pellegrini’s “The Shochu Handbook – An Introduction to Japan’s Indigenous Distilled Drink” is now entering distribution channels worldwide. Available in eBook and paperback (196 pages) versions, this reference helps fill the large chasm of English-language information regarding Japan’s shochu and awamori traditions.
Indeed, Pellegrini’s previous shochu-related work on the web, along with Stephen Lyman’s indispensable site, long represented the lion’s share of information available in a language other than Japanese. “The Shochu Handbook” is the most sizable and comprehensive look at shochu to date, and is an essential addition to the collection of anyone who intends to sip, serve, or import these exciting spirits.
Whether you’re well-versed in the ways of shochu and awamori or not, there’s plenty in here for the novice and seasoned alike. The first third of the book deals with what shochu is, how it’s produced, and how it differs from the beverages it is commonly confused with like Japanese nihonshu and Korean soju. One of the highlights of the book is the middle third which focuses on talking about the vast array of aromas and flavors that are part and parcel with these diverse spirits, and there’s also plenty of information about how to pair shochu with a variety of dishes from around the world.
The final third of the book includes cocktail and home liqueur recipes, a detailed list of Japanese expressions for travelers to shochu’s homeland, and a glossary that includes all of the non-English words used in the book. The icing on the cake is the dozens of beautiful images by photographer Marcus Lovitt.