Shochu 焼酎 is the national spirit of Japan. It is a distilled spirit that originated over 500 years ago, most akin to vodka in the sense that it is typically clear and can be made from different raw materials, unlike most spirits (bourbon from corn, rum from sugar cane, etc.), and is most often distilled from sweet potato (imo-jochu), barley (mugi-jochu), or rice (kome-jochu). More than half of all shochu is made from barley, the top choice. The production process is far more complex than vodka’s however, and there are myriad styles of shochu based on whether it is distilled once or multiple times, there is shochu fermented with mold, there are shochus aged in wood, and so on. Shochu is also most often consumed on the rocks, mixed with cold or hot water, or with fresh juice, which lowers the alcohol content even further to about 12 to 15 percent ABV, similar to a glass of wine. It can also be used as a substitute spirit in classic cocktails like the Martini or Negroni.