Japan/Hokkaido: Kiyosato Shochu Distillery

Shochu is traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage that is between 25-45% alcohol by volume (so strong stuff basically). It’s commonly distilled from rice or sweet potatoes, but on Hokkaido the specialty is the shochu made from regular potatoes (after all – Hokkaido feeds the rest of Japan with its potatoes and other vegetables). The boutique distillery (located among endless potato fields) gives you a free tour through the entire mashing and distillation process and at the end you can try three different shochu from mild to super strong. Pretty bottles, smooth taste, beautiful presentation – but I couldn’t shake off the feeling that this is just a simple moonshine potato samogon from Belarus.