Awamori: The most tropical liquor from Japanese islands
Awamori is Okinawa’s classic liquor
In September 2017, I traveled to Okinawa. It was my first time to visit these islands and I chose to do some island hopping to see local culture and foods. These islands are still in Japan, but they have jungles and mangroves so they are very tropical (yes, it was very hot!). During the trip I drank the local Okinawa sake Awamori. The taste of this sake is remarkable so I want to share it with you.
First I just tried the Awamori with ice cubes. The flavor is very fruity. You can even smell the strong sweet tropical flavor when you hold the Awamori close to your nose. The alcohol is quite strong (depends on the product, 20 to 40%), so I expected a sharper taste in my mouth, but it was very smooth and soft on my tongue. It kind like disappeared quickly in my mouth. I loved the taste as soon as I tried. Compared to other Japanese sake or liquors, the most outstanding difference is the flavor. I have never had anything like that before, I imagined something like I walk in to the tropical jungle which is full of juicy fruits from this flavor.
Compared to other alcohols, Awamori is low on calories, because it doesn’t contain any sugar.
What is the best way to drink Awamori?
Awamori is a distilled liquor, so you can drink it in many ways. You can drink it plain, just with ice cubes or with soda. These versions go nice with many kinds of food from Okinawa. I prefer to drink Awamori as a cocktail with cola and lime, though. It’s the perfect drink for a relaxing evening with friends and some nice island food.
Where to get Awamori
Unfortunately it is not easy to buy Awamori even in Japan. One of the reason is that 80% of Awamori is consumed in Okinawa. Also, most of Awamori is produced by very small, local breweries. And only some of them ship to Japan mainland so that you can find them in some liquor shops.
Awamori is difficult to obtain, but you have to try at least once!
It is hard to obtain Awamori, if you do not live in Japan. But if you have the chance to visit, definitely you must try it. I suggest you to visit an Okinawa restaurant. You can find some of them in any bigger town in Japan and they have a variety of different Awamori in store. And of course drinking Awamori with Okinawa food is the perfect match.