As many of you know, the origin story of my shochu obsession began on a Tuesday night at Izakaya Ten (now Juban) back in 2008. As a result, "Shochu Tuesday" has always had a special place in my heart and for the past 2 1/2 years I've been a guest-bartender-in-residence at SakaMai on the Lower East Side. As for December 15, 2015 that tenure ended - and with a bang. We had more than 40 guests for the farewell Shochu Tuesday at SakaMai.
Shochu Tuesdays have a new home at SakaMai. If you've been following the site for a while, you know that these started at Izakaya Ten back in 2008 when I first discovered shochu. The experience stuck with me and corrupted me in ways I didn't expect.
This story isn't going to be entirely true. “My first izakaya” was not my first izakaya. The trouble was the first time I went to an izakaya, in 2003, I didn't know I was in an izakaya. Several more years would pass before I realized what exactly this style of dining was – what it meant to me – and why it felt like something completely different.