If you are like many people your experience with Sake (Sah-Kay) has been limited to hot sake that you have shared at a Japanese Restaurant. If you have interest in expanding our experience there is a world of sake waiting for you to try.
Sake is a Japanese alcoholic drink made of fermented rice, koji and water. In Japanese, the word ‘sake’ also means alcoholic beverages in general.There’s some dispute about the drink’s origins, but a book written around 713AD mentions an alcoholic beverage made from rice. Another book written at around the same time also includes a description of a fermented rice alcoholic drink. Both would be considered rudimentary forms of modern-day Japanese sake. Today special rice is grown and milled or polished to prepare the rice for the brewing process. Increased milling removes fats, proteins and amino acids that can lead to unwanted flavors. There are five levels of sake. The three that you will most likely encounter are as follows. Junmai-shu has atleast 30% of the rice milled away. Ginjo-shu (premium sake) has at least 40% or more milled away. Daiginjo (super premium sake) has at least 50% or more milled away. If you see ginjo anywhere on the label you know that you are drinking sake that is better than 90% of the sake that is available to consumers as only 10% of sake is in this category. The water used in the fermentation is also an important component. Sake brewers need water with the right minerals, more potassium less iron. This water might come from a well or from a mountain stream. We decided to investigate what was out there to improve our sake selection at the shop. We knew that the latest craze was flavored sake as I had encountered them at the Sushi Train in Nashville. These flavored cold sakes, mango and pear were easy to approach and they enhanced the sushi. Some sakes react well to herbs and go with French cuisine, and sake can taste good when paired with Chinese food too. I have also heard that sake can pair well with Italian food. Most of the sakes we have chosen to carry in the shop are to be served cold. Therefore Summer might be a perfect time to try one of these treats. We even have a celebration sake with gold flecks for special events. There is some etiquette involved in sake enjoyment.If you’re drinking with someone else, it’s good manners to pour servings for your partner – usually the younger person pours for the older person first. When someone’s pouring sake for you it’s polite to hold your sake cup up with one hand and to put the other hand under the cup. Have a sip before putting the cup back on the table. Come begin your sake journey with us Friday at the shop when we will unveil the flavored sakes.