ZANPA - The Most Representative Awamori in Okinawa
Higa Brewery has a history of 230 years and was founded in 1884 (Meiji 16). It is the most representative awamori brewery in Okinawa. During the World War, all sake industries were almost at a standstill, also Higa Brewery.
After the war, Higa Brewery began brewing Awamori in Yomitan in 1948.
There was a lack of resources at that time. Many cases of people who were blinded by drinking methanolic beverages knowing the danger. In view of this, the founder of Higa Sake Brewery resolutely started brewing based on the concept of “brewing safe and delicious wine for Okinawa citizens” .
The name of this awamori is from the local scenic spot Zanpa, which means that the wave droplets that climbed to the cliff are left behind on the rocks. The label is an image of waves hitting Zanpa Cape. Zanpa White has a transparent and gentle feeling, while Zanpa Black has a strong image feeling.
What is Awamori?
Japan’s oldest spirits, Awamori is said to have a history of 600 years. It uses Thai rice (Indica rice) to make koji (mold), ferment it by adding water and yeast and then distilled by using pot stills. It is said that this manufacturing method hasn’t changed much from 600 years ago.
Awamori’s special characteristic is using black koji. Black koji mold produces a large amount of citric acid in the process of making alcohol, which has a great feature of suppressing decay caused by germs. It must have taken a long time for predecessors to master and realize black koji mold is the most suited for making alcohol in warm and humid Okinawa.
Awamori has less peculiar taste in smell and taste so it matches with all types of cuisine (Japanese, Chinese, Western). In Okinawa, when you eat with friends and family, it is a custom to have mizuwari to enjoy the meal. Also, have it on the rocks, add sparkling water or oyuwari (dilute with hot water) are recommended too.
Since awamori is a colorless distilled liquor, it also works as a cocktail base. It is popular with awamori beginners and women because it goes well with sour citrus fruits such as lemon and shikwasa, or sweet tropical fruits such as mango.
If you are having a kusu of more than 10-year old, by all means, drink straight to appreciate its taste and scent. The way to drink kusu straight is to pour a small amount of awamori into an ochoko or a glass. The key point is to take a small sip at a time and roll it around in your mouth, and just take your time to drink it.
The longer you taste it, the rich flavor deepens more and the sweetness spreads in your mouth. Rest your tongue occasionally with the water chaser and gently relish the change in taste and aroma.
Mix a Cocktail?
Name: Green Hornets
Bartender: Jason Lui, (Assistant Head Mixologist from SKYE, the Park Lane Hotel)
Higa Zanpa White Awamori 30ml
Hayman london dry gin 20ml
Suze liqueur 10ml
Vanilla Syrup 10ml