When famed bartender Shingo Gokan, founder of bar company SG Group, moved back to Tokyo to launch The SG Club in 2018, he embarked on a project to introduce shōchū, Japan’s original craft spirit, into the lexicon of global cocktail culture.

In February, SG Group launched The SG Shochu, a collaboration with three of Japan’s top producers — Takahashi Shuzo, Satsuma Shuzo and Sanwa Shurui. To fine tune the flavor profile, the companies “created the brand together, developing each spirit from scratch,” says brand manager Joshin Atone. While shōchū typically contains around 25 percent alcohol, The SG Shochu’s higher alcohol content of roughly 40 percent makes it a versatile base for cocktails.

The debut line features three varieties: smooth and elegant rice-based Kome (from Takahashi Shuzo); aromatic and fruity sweet potato-based Imo (from Satsuma Shuzo), made with eimurasaki, a rare variety of purple potato; and barley-based Mugi (from Sanwa Shurui), which displays complex whisky-like notes from barrel aging.