Purple: A Shochu Infusion - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Purple: A Shochu Infusion

For this vibrant infusion, New York bartender and spirits educator Don Lee uses a Japanese shochu made from sweet potatoes. “Heihachiro is a sweet potato shochu, and I wanted to double up on the sweet potato flavor,” he says. “The shochu has the sweet flora aromatics, but when I think of Japanese sweet potatoes I can’t help but think of the caramelized flavors of a roasted sweet potato. I wanted to combine these two aspects of sweet potato, and using purple sweet potatoes gives it a fun pop of color that you don’t often see in cocktails without resorting to food coloring.” Click here to learn more about Japanese shochu and how to use it in cocktails.



Roast the purple sweet potato in a 350 degree F oven for 1 hour, then let cool. Peel the sweet potato and place in a vacuum-seal bag or zip-seal plastic bag along with the koji and water. Remove the air from the bag, then place it into a water bath for 4 hours, using an immersion circulator (sous vide) to keep the bath at 57 degrees Celsius (135 degrees F). Blend the prepared sweet potato with the shochu, then strain the liquid through 4 layers of 100 micron filter cloth, or through another very fine strainer, such as a nut-milk bag, a homebrew filter bag, or several layers of finely woven cotton kitchen towels. Store at room temperature for up to 60 days.

To serve, pour 2 oz. (60 ml.) of the infused shochu over a large ice cube in a rocks glass.

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