SOKA combines distillates of fermented fresh sorghum juice and syrup. The fresh juice lends springy, green flavors of melon, cucumber, and green apple, with the syrup bringing forward darker aromas of harvest, and notes of hay and toasted honey. The use of a third fermentation inspired by the production of Jamaican rum contributes a touch of fermented grass and brininess, binding everything together.
Fresh cut grass,
Sorghum Cane, Thai Rice Chong Yeast
Enjoy neat, in a ti punch or twist on a Mojito
SOKA is an intersection of flavors bound by our incessant curiosity and one key ingredient: sorghum.
Fermentation is a large part of our creative process, as is our constant search for new sources of sugar, the key to it all. So, when sorghum came to mind, it got us thinking. This truly ancient grain is the fifth most produced cereal crop worldwide, playing a large role in beer production across Africa and Asia. But what about the stalk that supports it? Where are all the sorghum-based spirits of the world? And so we delved further, looking into sorghum’s rich history, properties and high sugar content.
To begin with, we started fermenting cane juice from European sorghum, blending it with strain upon strain of yeast from our neighbor White Labs Copenhagen until we came across a winner: Thai Rice Chong. The resulting ferment delivered aromas and flavors reminiscent of freshly cut grass, green apples and barnyards. We were hooked – and we had a vision.
Excited and ready for more, we headed to Kentucky to source sorghum syrup from fifth-generation sorghum producer Danny Ray Townsend, before moving to Wisconsin to get our hands on sorghum juice from veteran hobbyists-turned-experts Richard and Brenda Wittgreve.
With our juice in place, time was of the essence to avoid contamination and keep the flavor intact. First we pressed the juice before taking it to a distillery in Milwaukee where it fermented over three days. The next step? To preserve all the wonderful esters, which meant turning to vacuum distillation. But our equipment was in Copenhagen, so we took what we could find at hand, gave it a tweak here and there, and voila: a distiller was born, and the problem solved.
Following this, the leftover wash from distilling the juice was used to ferment our syrup, leading us to the next and final stage: the blending and bottling of SOKA.
All of which is to say that for us, overall, SOKA is about connections.
Our connection to learning, to the history of sorghum, to the endless possibilities this grain and the world have to offer … and to flavor.