How can one begin educating wait staff about shochu?

Although shochu has recently become much more popular than sake in Japan, the reality is that shochu is not as popular as sake in the U.S. Some people don't even know the meaning of the term "shochu." In this case, wait staff will have to educate the customer and recommend ways for enjoying this new drink. We suggest that the wait staff should know the following things, and the recommendations are based on the level of the customer's knowledge about shochu.

  1. For shochu beginners
    Shochu beginners usually require a recommendation on the restaurant's part. In that case, wait staff can always recommend their own personal favorite kinds of shochu.

    • Ask customers about their favorite kind of food

    • Recommend a "kikizake (trial)" set which allows customers to try a few tastes at the same time

    • Ask how they would like the shochu served (on the rocks, mixed with water, etc.)

  2. For the experienced shochu drinking customers
    If customers have tasted shochu before, they may know what shochu is, but still not be completely knowledgeable. Wait staff can discuss some of the same points as mentioned above.

    • Find out the kind of shochu that the customers had previously tasted. If they enjoyed that type of shochu, then a similar-tasting new brand can be recommended.

    • Explain what the differences are from the previous shochu and the new one in terms of ingredients, taste, aroma, alcohol content, etc.

    • Serve shochu ranging in types from soft to rich, and/or strong aroma shochu.

    • Recommend a shochu cocktail as a way for discovering new tastes

  3. For the shochu drinking experts
    Shochu experts certainly already know how to enjoy it, so there is much less responsibility placed on the wait staff. However, it is always courteous and informative to provide any new information about the available shochus, including basic information about the region or brewery responsible for the shochu.

    • Recommend newly arrived shochu

    • Suggest today's special food and matching shochu