To be eligible to enter the Spirited Away Shochu Cocktail competition you must be:


(i) a bartender employed by an establishment licensed to sell/serve alcoholic beverages to the public within the last (12) twelve months; and


(ii) a legal resident of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are 21 years of age or older.


Employees of the seven (7) shochu producers from Kyushu (the “Sponsors, ”), Sponsors’ partners in the competition, and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, and members of their immediate family (spouse, parent, sibling or child and their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside and persons living in the same household of such employees, whether or not related, are not eligible to enter or win. Void where prohibited by law. 

Competition Summary:

Make an original shochu cocktail recipe according to the criteria below, and using one of the sponsored shochu and submit here!

14 finalists will be chosen to compete in the final competition on Monday, June 1st, 2020.

Please read the full rules and guidelines below, if you have any other questions please feel free to contact

How the Competition Works:

In order to familiarize competitors with shochu as a category and choose a shochu to use in their cocktail, we will hold a walk-around shochu tasting on April 1st at the SevenFifty House・337B E. 8th St. NYC 10009


Cocktail Entry:

The competing bartender must submit an original cocktail recipe, that meets the below criteria  (the ‘Entry’):


No purchase is necessary and no entry fee is required by the participating bartender to compete in the Spirited Away Shochu Cocktail Competition.


To compete, competitors must submit a recipe to between April 2, 2019 and April 15th, 2019.

Cocktail Recipe
Cocktail recipe submissions should highlight, enhance and boost the flavor of the base shochu, and not cover up its more delicate characteristics.

There is a limit of one (1) Entry per person.

Recipes must be expressed in ounces, with dashes and/or drops being the smallest quantities.

Recipes must contain a minimum of 1 oz (~30ml) of the specified sponsoring shochu brand and the total combined alcoholic ingredients must be equivalent to no more than 100ml (or 3.5oz) and no higher than 40% abv.


Participating bartenders must create an original shochu cocktail based on the recipe criteria outlined above and submit the information below to


  • Cocktail name;

  • Cocktail ingredients list;

  • Glass type;

  • Cocktail preparation methodology;

  • Special ingredient preparation method (if applicable);

  • Max 300 word essay explaining idea and story of cocktail, reason behind choice of base shochu, choice of ingredients and techniques and any other inspiration.

  • A photograph of the cocktail.

  • Agreement to accept the terms and conditions of the competition.


  • The recipe must be shochu-based and include as the dominant spirit ingredient one of the featured shochu.

  • The recipe must contain no other shochu brands.

  • The recipes must contain no more than seven (7) ingredients. Any garnish or spritz that is not already listed as an ingredient and which changes the taste or aromatic profile of the cocktail will be considered an additional ingredient – e.g. aromatic herbs, zests, spices, bitters or liqueurs applied to the glass or drink, etc… If using the juice of a fruit in the cocktail and a peel as garnish that will count as one ingredient.

  • House specific, or home-made, ingredients will not be eligible unless these are easy to make and are accompanied by a full recipe and methodology of preparation.

  • Home-made syrups are permitted but must have no more than two (2) flavor ingredients in addition of water and sugar or honey.

  • Home-made shrubs are permitted but must have no more than two (2) flavor ingredients (with the vinegar being included as one (1) flavor ingredient).

  • Home-made bitters and tinctures are prohibited.

  • Home-made fermented beverages (e.g. kefir, kombucha, kvass are prohibited.)

  • It is prohibited to use ingredients that contain tobacco, any type of drug or psychotropic ingredient.


Competitors must specify an original name for their cocktail.


The name may not include any element covered by a third party’s copyright or trademark or any retailer’s name.

The name must also:

-not appeal to those below the legal drinking age;
-not emphasize or allude to the alcoholic strength or the alcohol effect of the drink;
-not suggest association with illicit drugs;
-not associated with bravado, dangerous or anti-social behaviour;
-avoid any association with sex or sexual success;
-avoid any association with sports, educational activities or civic/religious festivities;
-not imply any medicinal properties or values;
-not link to illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption and;
-not allude to enhanced mental or physical capabilities.



Since recipes are submitted by email. Please write a brief (300 words max) essay explaining the idea and story behind your cocktail, why you chose the particular base shochu, the choice of ingredients to complement that shochu, and any other flavor or cultural inspirations behind the recipe. Also please include a brief description of shochu to explain it to the unfamiliar drinker.


Walkaround Tasting

April 1st, 2019, 11am-4pm, SevenFifty House・337B E. 8th St. NYC 10009

All shochu eligible from participating sponsors will be available to taste at this event, with representatives on hand from each producer to explain the history, production and style of each shochu.

There will also be a shochu seminar given at the tasting event to help competitors familiarize themselves with the category.

Eligible Shochu

Takahashi Shuzo

Ginrei Shiro
Kinjo Shiro

Munemasa Shuzo

Mizu - Saga Barley
Mizu - Lemongrass
Mizu - Green Tea


Sanwa Shurui

Iichiko Silhouette
Iichiko Kurobin

Iichiko Frasco

Yanagita Shuzo

Yanagita ‘Koma’ - Barley Shochu
Yanagita ‘Mizunara’ - Barrel Aged Barley Shochu
Aokage Barley Shochu


Takara Shuzo



Kuroki Honten

Hyakunen no Kodoku ‘100 Years of Solitude’ - Barrel Aged Barley Shochu
Yamasemi ‘Kingfisher’ - Rice Shochu
Nakanaka ‘Pretty’ - Barley Shochu
Kiroku ‘Memory’ - Sweet Potato Shochu


Satsuma Shuzo

Kuradashi Genshu
Satsuma Kuro


Cocktail Submission Period

April 1, 2019 to April 15, 2019 12am


  • Cocktail recipes submitted according to guidelines above.

  • All cocktail submissions must be submitted by email to along with a photo of the cocktail.


Initial Cocktail Judging Period

April 16th to April 29th

Judging panel will consider all recipe submissions and score them according to the following criteria.

RECIPE: 50 points

  • Taste and Overall Satisfaction: (30)

  • Ingredient Selection (10)

  • Name (10)

VISUAL APPEAL: 20 points

  • Color/Aesthetic (10)

  • Glassware selection (10)

ESSAY: 30 points

  • Creative inspiration behind recipe

  • Understanding of base shochu

  • Explanation of what shochu is

  • Description of cocktail flavor and aroma

Qualifying for the Finals

  • The top two (2) scoring cocktails made from shochu from each sponsoring brand will be represented at the Finals, for a total of fourteen (14)  total competitors each with distinct cocktails.

  • Qualifying cocktails can contain the same base shochu but must be different recipes.

  • Even if a cocktail scores highly, if two other cocktail submissions made from shochu from the same sponsoring brand score higher it will not quality for the Finals.

  • The 14 competitors who qualify for the finals will be notified by April 29, 2019.



May 6th, 2019 Angel’s Share Annex, 3pm~7pm

Finalist Spots:

 A total of two (2) cocktails made from shochu from each sponorsing brand will receive spots in the finals. 

Takahashi Shuzo (Ginrei Shiro, Kinjo Shiro)  - 2 spots


Munemasa Shuzo (Mizu Shochu: Barley, Lemongrass, Green Tea) - 2 spots


Sanwa Shurui (Iichiko Silhouette, Iichiko Kurobin, Iichiko Frasco) - 2 spots

Yanagita Shuzo (Yanagita: Koma, Mizunara, Aokage) - 2 spots

Takara Shuzo (Ikkomon, Towari) - 2 spots


Kuroki Honten (Hyakunen no Kodoku, Yamasemi, Kiroku, NakaNaka) - 2 spots

Satsuma Shuzo (Kuradashi Genshu, Satsuma Kuro) - 2 spots

Finals Rules:

  • For the Finals, every finalist will be required to make their drink live in front of the judges and other attendees.

  • Every finalist will have 12 minutes to setup and present their cocktail with 3 minutes in between to clean.

  • Drinks must be assembled in front of the judges during the finals competition.

    • Competitors must supply their own bar tools, utensils (shaker, bar spoon, strainer etc.).

    • If applicable, competitors must supply their own blender, ice-crusher, et al.

    • Cocktails may be presented in any type of serviceable glassware but are encouraged to consider the most engaging sensory experience for their preparation.

    • The venue will supply basic glassware. Competitors are permitted to supply their own glassware.

    • Each competitor must make at least four identical drinks for the judges to sample.

    • Competitors must be able to setup and prepare their drinks within the allotted 12 minutes.

    • Competitors serving drinks which appear inedible or working with unhygienic methods will be disqualified and their drinks discarded without being sampled.

    • Garnishes, if mounted, may be mounted on sticks, skewers, straws, forks or other such common bar accessories. Use of edible fruits, herbs, leaves and spices may include sprigs, peels, barks, fruit shells etc. Any flowers and petals, et al used must be of an edible variety.

    • Fruit for garnishes may be peeled in advance, but not sliced, wedged or pre-cut in any other way. If the garnish is the skin of the fruit, e.g. orange twist / rind, it must be pulled during the five minute assembly time. All garnishes must be assembled within the 12 minute allotted drinks preparation time.



Finalist Cocktails Scoring Criteria:

Cocktails will be scored by the judges according to the following criteria:


TASTE/SMELL: 50 points

(***cocktail is not selected if Shochu aroma/flavor is not prominent***)

  • Aroma (10)

  • Flavor (10)

  • Acidity (10)

  • Texture (10)

  • Finish (10)

VISUAL APPEAL: 20 points

  • Color (10)

  • Garnishment (10)

ORIGINALITY: 20 points

  • Ingredient Selection (10)

  • Name (10)

PERFORMANCE: 10 points

(***Performance over 12 minutes will automatically be disqualified****)

  • Smoothness of execution (10)

After a period of time to combine scores and confer, the judges will announce the two winners of the Spirited Away Shochu Cocktail Competition.


The two winners of the competition will be awarded a trip to Japan to happen in late summer/early autumn of 2019.


The Grand Prize shall consist of the following:

(i) one round trip ticket to Japan from a New York area airport.

(ii) meals; (Not all meals are included)

(iii) accommodations; and

(iv) transportation to and from any events arranged by the Sponsors, all as shall be determined by the Sponsors in their sole discretion.  


The Sponsors shall award the Grand Prize to two (2) winners, which shall consist of a trip solely for such winners to Japan (the “Trip”). The Trip includes round trip, coach-class air transportation for one (1) person from a major airport near New York City, as determined by the Sponsors in their sole discretion, to Japan; [seven (7) consecutive] nights' accommodations at a hotel chosen by the Sponsors in their sole discretion, consisting of a single room; certain meals to be determined by the Sponsors; ground transportation between the airport, hotel and to and from any events arranged by the Sponsors, all as shall be determined by the Sponsors in their sole discretion. Each winner must complete the trip within one (1) year from the date winner was awarded the Grand Prize or it will be forfeited. Winner will be given thirty (30) days’ notice of the Trip. The Trip must be booked at least twenty-one (21) days prior to departure. Travel, accommodations, and excursions are subject to availability and blackout dates. Travel must be round trip. The Sponsors will determine the itinerary for the Trip, including, without limitation, airline and flight times, in their sole discretion. Travel is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in these Terms, Conditions and Rules, and those set forth by the Sponsors’ airline carrier of choice as detailed in the passenger ticket contract. All expenses and incidental travel costs not expressly stated in the package description above, including but not limited to, additional ground transportation, meals, incidentals, gratuities, passenger tariffs or duties, airline fees, surcharges, airport fees, service charges or facility charges, personal charges at lodging, security fees, taxes or other expenses are the responsibility solely of the winner. The Sponsors will not replace any lost, mutilated, or stolen tickets, travel vouchers or certificates. There shall be no substitution of the Grand Prize or cash alternative awarded, except in the sole and absolute discretion of the Sponsors. The Grand Prize may not be redeemed for cash value.

Notification and Compliance by Winner:

The Sponsors will award the Grand Prize only upon the terms set forth herein. The winners shall be notified by phone or e-mail and will be required to be available for travel on the date or dates selected by the Sponsors, and to satisfactorily complete an Affidavit of Eligibility showing that each winner has complied with these Terms, Conditions and Rules. The Sponsors are not responsible for and shall not be liable for late, lost, misdirected, or unsuccessful efforts to notify the winner. Within ten (10) days after receiving notification that winner has won the Competition, winner must submit to Sponsors (i) a signed Release acceptable to Sponsors; (ii) a signed IRS Form W-9; and (iii) proof acceptable to Sponsors that winner is employed as a bartender. Sponsors reserve the right to determine the validity of the winner’s status as a bona-fide bartender in the Sponsors’ sole discretion. By accepting the Grand Prize, the winner shall be deemed to have agreed that the Sponsors, and anyone they may authorize, may without compensation publish, display and otherwise use the winner’s name, photograph or other likeness, biographical information, cocktail recipe, and statements concerning the Competition for purposes of advertising and promotion without compensation. The winner must also demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Sponsors, at least forty-five (45) days prior to departure, that the winner (i) has a valid U.S. Passport; (ii) has received all vaccinations and preventative medications required or recommended by the United States government, including, without limitation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control; and (iii) has medical clearance, following a physical examination performed within thirty (30) days prior to the date of departure. All information submitted is subject to verification by the Sponsors or their agents and representatives, who reserve the right to revoke the Grand Prize in the event of a material misrepresentation by the winner. If the winner (i) cannot be contacted or any notification sent to the winner is returned undeliverable; (ii) is ineligible as provided herein or otherwise; (iii) fails to comply with the terms hereof, including providing any required documentation, in a timely manner; (iv) is unavailable for travel at the time that the Trip is scheduled by the Sponsors; or (v); otherwise fails to fully comply with these Terms, Conditions and Rules, then the winner will forfeit the Grand Prize and it may be awarded to an alternate winner as selected by the Sponsors. If the winner selected (i) declines to participate or is unable to comply with these Terms, Conditions and Rules; or (ii) by reason of accident, illness or emergency, is unable to travel or must return home prior to the scheduled conclusion of the trip, or (iii) ends his/her participation or such
participation is terminated by for any other reason prior to trip completion, there will be no cash compensation paid to winner. No transfer of the Grand Prize to a third party is permitted.


Sponsors’ Rights:
Sponsors reserves the right, in their sole discretion, to (i) cancel or reschedule the trip, in whole or in part; and (ii) to disqualify the winner from further participation in the trip, as a result of conduct by the winner that is considered improper or offensive to the local community, is likely to be detrimental to the health or safety of the winner or other individuals, or demonstrates that the winner is not capable of or unwilling to participate fully in the trip experience. If any activity which is part of or relates to the Grand Prize is canceled or postponed for any reason, the receipt by the winner of the balance of the Grand Prize shall constitute receipt in full by the winner of the Grand Prize.



By participating in the Competition, competitors expressly acknowledge that they are aware of, and they unconditionally agree to, (i) the Terms and Conditions (ii) and the broader Program Requirements of which they are part, (iii) all applicable laws and regulations; and (iv) the fact that the decisions of the Spirited Away Cocktail Competition Committee will be final and binding upon them, and they waive any appeal or other remedy.



A panel of judges chosen by the Spirited Away Cocktail Competition Committee will review the entries and select two cocktails made from the shochu of each sponsoring brand that best complements the quality of that shochu to progress to the final stage of the Competition. Competitors should expect to hear whether they have progressed to the final round via email at the address provided by April 29, 2019.  The judges’ decision is final, absolute and completely discretional, after which there is no appeal on the part of any competitor or third party. Competitors admitted to the final stage of the Competition will be informed about the dates of the final, via email, at an opportune time.

By entering the Competition, entrants and the Grand Prize winners agree that Sponsors, judges, their respective parent companies, divisions, affiliates and subsidiaries, and each of their directors, officers, employees, agents, representatives, successors and assigns, and all others associated with the development and execution of this Competition, their officers, directors, subsidiaries or affiliates and their agencies, consultants and employees shall not be held liable for any injuries, losses or damages, including death, resulting from participation in this Competition or the acceptance of the Grand Prize. Each competitor, including the winners, agrees to release and hold each Sponsor harmless from any and all losses, damages, rights, claims, and actions of any kind in connection with the Competition or resulting from acceptance, possession, or use of any prize, including, without limitation, personal injury, death, property damage, and claims based upon intellectual property infringement, publicity rights, defamation, or invasion of privacy. By accepting the Grand Prize, each winner further acknowledges that the Sponsors and any other entity involved with this Competition have neither made, nor are in any manner responsible or liable for, any warranty, representation or guarantee, express or implied in fact or in law, relative to the Grand Prize. Payment of all federal, state, and local taxes and other expenses not specified herein, are the sole responsibility of each winner. The Sponsors reserve the right to modify these Terms, Conditions and Rules for clarification purposes without materially affecting the terms and conditions of the Competition, to refuse to accept entries that do not appear to be legitimate to the Sponsors, in their sole discretion, and/or cancel, terminate or suspend any portion of this Competition should a computer virus, non-authorized human intervention or other causes beyond the control of the Sponsors corrupt or impair the administration, security, fairness or proper operation of the Competition and, in any such event, at its discretion, select the winners from eligible, non-suspect entries received prior to the event requiring such termination, cancellation or suspension. The Sponsors are not responsible for typographical or other errors in the offer or administration of this Competition, including, but not limited to, errors in advertising, these Terms, Conditions and Rules, the selection and announcement of the winners, or the awarding of the Grand Prize. The Sponsors and each of their officers, directors, affiliates, related entities, partners, partnerships, principals, representatives, agents, licensees, coordinators, successors and assigns, in connection with this Competition: (i) make no warranty, guaranty or representation of any kind concerning the Grand Prize or any other prize awarded in connection with, to this Competition; (ii) disclaim any implied warranty; and (iii) are not liable for injury, loss, or damage of any kind resulting from the entry into this Competition, or the acceptance or use of any prize, or the travel related thereto, or from participation in this Competition.
By participating, competitors unconditionally agreed that the decisions of the competition judges will be final and binding, and competitors waive any appeal or other remedy.
The Sponsors reserve the right to change these Competition Terms, Conditions and Rules at any time prior to the start of the competition, without prior notice. Any changes will be communicated to the competitors via email.
By participating, competitors represent and warrant that they are complying with any policy that their employer may have regarding participation in contests of this nature.
In the event of conflicts or inconsistencies between (i) these Competition Terms, Conditions and Rules, and (ii) any communication, media release, advertising and promotional materials, these Competition Terms, Conditions and Rules shall prevail.


By entering this competition, competitors are granting Sponsors and its competition partners explicit rights to use the competitor’s photo, video, image of submitted drink, drink recipe name, and drink recipe for publicity purposes, including but not limited to: press, social media and any other publication or media without further payment or consideration.


The Sponsors, their affiliates, subsidiaries, parent companies, distributors, competition coordinators, advertising and promotion agencies, and judges involved in this Competition are not responsible for technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to, the malfunctioning of any computer, cable, network, hardware, software or web site due to any cause whatsoever. The Sponsors are not responsible for lost, interrupted or unavailable network servers or other connections, missed communications, failed telephone or computer or telephone transmissions or technical failure, jumbled, scrambled or misdirected transmissions, for incorrect or inaccurate entry information, howsoever caused, or other error of any kind whether human, mechanical or electronic. Entrants found tampering with or abusing any aspect of this Competition, as solely determined by the Sponsors and/or the judges, will be disqualified. If an entrant is disqualified for any of the above reasons, the Sponsors reserve the right to terminate such entrant’s eligibility to participate in the Competition. In the event of any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Competition, the Sponsors reserve the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. The Sponsors failure to enforce any provision of these Terms, Conditions and Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. The Sponsors reserve the right to terminate, cancel, suspend and/or modify the Competition if any fraud, virus or other technical problem corrupts the administration, security, or proper conduct of the Competition, as determined by any of the Sponsors in their sole discretion. Any compromise to the fair and proper conduct of this Contest related to a computer virus, or similar type of technical impairment that may affect the proper fairness, security and administration of the Contest may result in the termination, amendment or modification of the Contest, or portion thereof at the sole discretion of Sponsor. In any such event, the Sponsors reserve the right to award the Grand Prize to another entrant in accordance with the judging criteria.


Except where prohibited, all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Terms, Conditions and Rules, or the rights and obligations of the entrant and the Sponsors in connection with the Competition, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of New York, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules, which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. Entrant/competitor agrees to indemnify the Sponsors for all claims brought by third parties in connection with Competition. Except where prohibited, by participating in this Competition, all entrants/competitors agree that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Competition shall be resolved exclusively in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York or the appropriate New York State Court located in New York County. Under no circumstances will any entrant/competitor be permitted to obtain awards for, and all entrants/competitors hereby waive, all claims for punitive, incidental and consequential damages.