The first mention of Sake and you’re already transported to strolling along a cherry blossom pathway while sipping a cup of Japan’s most iconic liquor.
WHAT IS SAKE?
Did you know that Sake actually means ‘alcohol’ in Japanese? This could include everything from spirits to beers and wines. However, the most common rice-based drink that we often refer to as ‘sake’, is actually known as ‘nihonshu’.
TYPES OF SAKE
There are four styles of sake that you should know about:
Daiginjo is a fragrant sake that contains a minimum 50% polishing ratio and a very small amount of distilled alcohol is added to enhance its flavour and aroma. This super premium sake is best served chilled.
With a polishing ratio of 40%, Ginjo is a premium, fragrant sake that’s similar to Daiginjo.
This sake has a polished ratio of 70% and is a light and mildly fragrant premium sake. A tinge of alcohol has been added to extract the aroma and flavour.
The most common type, Junmai is made with rice, yeast, water and koji with no minimum polishing ratio. In the local dialect, Junmai means ‘pure rice’, and is used to differentiate between pure rice sake and non-pure rice sake.
HOW TO SERVE SAKE?
Sake is served out of porcelain flasks referred to as tokkuri. It is then poured into small ceramic cups known as sakazuki or choko. If you’re serving chilled sake, you can also opt to use wine glasses.
Depending on the season, drinker’s preference and the quality of alcohol, sake can be served at various temperatures, i.e. chilled, warm, hot or even at room temperature.
HOW TO STORE SAKE?
Sake bottles should be stored in a cool, dark and dry area to ensure heat wouldn’t interfere with the flavour or aroma of the sake.
HOW TO DRINK SAKE?
Typically, sake is supposed to be served to you and vice versa. When someone pours the sake, hold your cup slightly ahead and away from you. It’s common courtesy to serve sake to the person who initially served it to you.
HOW TO TOAST WITH SAKE?
Before you take your first sip, make sure to shout out ‘Kampei’ and toast the hearty, traditional beverage with your company. Breathe in the aroma of the sake, take a sip and let it linger in your mouth before you swallow it.
SAKE AND FOOD
Sake is best enjoyed when paired with spicy dishes. Junmai is usually complemented with seafood and sushi while Daiginjo pairs well with meats.
Don’t forget to check out our collection of fermented short-grain rice wine from Japan