'Shochu and Awamori - Japan's Beautiful Secrets' on 21th February 2021, welcomes three distinguished industry guests, including the recently awarded Tales of the Cocktail, Best American Bar Mentor of the year, Don Lee, to lead a 2-hour masterclass, interactive session, and companion tasting workshop. The seminar will dive into the categories' histories, production methods, flavour profile, as well as cocktail inspiration.
The first 70 registrants will receive an exclusive Shochu and Awamori sample pack to accompany the session.
We welcome guests:
Don Lee, globally-renowned New York-based bartender, educator and JSS Ambassador. Founding judge of the Ultimate Beverage Challenge, a teaching fellow for the Beverage Alcohol Resource.
Hitoshi Utsunomiya, Director of the Japan Sake and Shochu Association
Hosted by UKBG Partner, Dean Callan of the Bartenders Broadcasting Network, and Dean Callan Show.
Seminar attendees will then be invited to enter The Great Honkaku Shochu & Awamori Contest, via the UKBG Membership system bysubmittingrecipes and accompanying media.
Entrants are required to be UKBG members - although membership is still free! The initial round will be judged by a panel of industry leaders, and finalists will be invited to compete in-person at the Finals on March 14th, 2022.
A software engineer by trade and a documentary photographer by schooling, Don Lee is spirits and cocktail educator. Lee's introduction to craft cocktails came from what he calls an epiphany over a properly made drink. It was the kind of cocktail that made him think: "Why was this so good while every other cocktail I've ever had so bad?" And so began Lee's pursuit of excellence in food and drinks. He got his start from customer to bartender at the world-renowned Death and Company, then went on to become the opening beverage director of PDT (Please Don't Tell).
His next stop was at David Chang's Momofuku group where he started their hard spirits and cocktail program including the frozen soju cocktails at Momofuku Noodle Bar. He then took a detour away from bars and restaurants as the founding Director of Product Development for Cocktail Kingdom to design what would go on to become the benchmark for professional barware. In the summer of 2018 Lee partnered with Dave Arnold to open the James Beard nominated cocktail bar Existing Conditions. In 2020 Lee won Best American Bar Mentor at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. He continues to hone his craft as one of the founding judges of the Ultimate Beverage Challenge and is a teaching fellow for the Beverage Alcohol Resource.
Hitoshi has spent his career studying the flavor chemistry of Sake and teaching young sake brewers, in National Research Institute of Brewing (NRIB). His most noted work is the codifcation of flavor terminology and reference standards for the sensory analysis of Sake.
He also edited the best-selling reference book, 'A Comprehensive Guide to Japanese Sake', published by Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association.
Director of the Bartender’s Broadcast Network (BBN) a drinks led production company with an aim to bring our passion for hospitality, cocktails, spirits and good times to as broad an audience as possible.
The Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association was established in 1953 to support the Japanese Government in securing revenue from liquor taxation, ensure safe and secure liquor business transactions, and to develop the sector.
It is a voluntary organisation comprising nearly every maker of Japanese alcoholic drinks in the country. There are a total of 1,708 members which include 1,422 sake producers, 273 honkaku shochu producers, and 13 mirin producers. (Date as of March 2019).
As the only official industry organisation for Japan’s national alcoholic drinks, it's core aim is to promote sake, honkaku shochu, and awamori both domestically and in overseas markets.