About a month ago, the people behind Haamonii shochu emailed me about reviewing their product, and given that I’m sort of a sucker for free booze, I told them I was more than happy to give it a whirl. A few days later, a box arrived at my doorstep, and ta-da! Free booze! Can’t go wrong with that. I immediately recruited my dear friend Sly to help me sample these spirits (a job she has assisted me with in the past), and soon the two of us were in the throes of shochu madness.
Pics after the jump…
For the uninitiated, shochu is an alcoholic Japanese beverage somewhere between wine and spirit. It’s stronger than sake but weaker than vodka. I’d actually never had it before, and so I was very excited to try this Haamonii (a.k.a. “Harmony” in a stereotypical Asian accent) for the first time.
Here I am unsheathing the bottle from its protective cocoon of bubble wrap.
The process proves to be more difficult than one might expect.
It kind of reminded of that scene in Independence Day when all the ill-fated scientists set about extracting that alien from its pod. Hopefully, this bottle of shochu will not spring to life and murder me.
Anticipation builds as we near the unveiling.
The first glimpses of the bottle peek through. A crowning moment, if you will.
At last, we extract the bottle. There are collective ooohs and ahhhs from me and Sly (as well as Lisa T., who happens to be present and on camera duty). This is truly a striking bottle. We love it.
With the bottle of Haamonii as her lure, Sly quietly wafts forward from the darkness in the hopes of procuring some shochu for herself.
Sly salivates as she holds the pristine bottle in her hands.
The time has come to open the bottle.
Clearly I am overjoyed at the prospect of finding tumblers.
The adventure continues as I attempt to retrieve ice from the freezer. Easier said than done.
As you can see, I have some hoarding tendencies.
Thanks to my general sloth in preparing the beverages, Sly attempts to grab the bottle of Haamonii away, perhaps with the intention of suckling at it directly.
I, however, retain control of the booze.
At last, pouring commences. We decide that we’re gonna do the shochu simply on the rocks for this first round.
Preparing for the official tasting.
Despite the contorted expression on my face, I actually like the Haamonii quite a bit. At first, it tastes like vodka, but it never hits you with the bitter aftertaste you’ve come to expect. Instead, you’re left with a sweet, nutty flavor similar to sake. It makes us happy.
Rave reviews all around.
Bonus points for artsy photography!
Ultimately, we enjoyed our Haamonii experience quite greatly. For our second round, we wanted to make one of the cocktails listed on the company’s website, but we didn’t have enough ingredients. Instead, we squeezed some lime juice into our shochu to mixed results. Sly didn’t love the pairing. I thought it was quite tasty. We both agreed, however, that the lime juice masked the special flavor of the alcohol, and at that point, we might as well have used vodka. Lesson learned. When we busted into the bottle again the next night, we both did so without any mixers.
Thank you, Haamonii, for the booze!