If you’ve been to Yardbird, then you know that the perfect way to end your meal is with a glass of Sunday’s Coffee Shochu, shaken up by the bartender with a little ice. But what’s the story behind this delicious beverage and how is it made?
Yardbird’s first version of coffee shochu came about as a collaboration between Co-Owner Matt Abergel, ex-General Manager Raphael Holzer, and Beverage Director Elliot Faber. It was originally made in-house by the Yardbird bartenders through a simple infusion process. Rice shochu – a Japanese distilled spirit with a clean, silent flavor profile – was combined with coffee beans and rock sugar in airtight jars and left to do its magic (infuse). Over the years, Yardbird’s coffee shochu has gone through a few iterations and the team has partnered with several coffee roasters like La Colombe from Philadelphia and Stumptown from Portland to produce different versions of this beverage. Eventually, Matt and the team wanted to make a more consistent product that was produced in Japan, using Japanese ingredients, and Sunday’s Coffee Shochu was born.
It was a no-brainer to work with Beyond Coffee Roasters for Sunday’s Coffee Shochu as they roast a range of coffee from all over the world out of a small space in Kitano, Kobe. Beyond Coffee Roasters is run by Bunn-san, who started his business after traveling the world to find the best coffee beans. Bunn-san roasts individual batches one at a time and works with the Yardbird team directly to produce the specific roast that works best for Sunday’s Coffee Shochu. He, too, loves the product and is as passionate about coffee as the Yardbird crew is about booze.
Sunday’s Coffee Shochu is currently produced at Tsubosaka brewery. The Yardbird team has had a long-standing relationship with Tsubosaka, having sold their product at the restaurant for years, and this brewery has perfected the coffee shochu making process. During the infusion, they measure factors like sugar levels and temperature in order to repeatedly make the best version of what Yardbird made in-house at the beginning. And as both Tsubosaka brewery and Beyond Coffee Roasters are located in Hyogo prefecture, the beans are roasted about an hour away from the brewery. Each bottle of coffee shochu contains Yardbird’s recipe of rice shochu, Sumatra beans, and a special Japanese rock sugar. Matured and monitored under Tsubosaka’s unique climate and conditions for a minimum of 45 days, it is then bottled in small batches.