Sake 101: What is Sake?
What is Sake?
Sake is a traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. It is often referred to as “rice wine” but is actually closer to beer in its brewing process. The name sake is derived from the Japanese word for alcohol, “saké”. It is an important part of Japanese culture and is served at all types of events and celebrations.
Sake is made by steaming and mashing rice, adding koji (a type of fungus) to the rice, and then fermenting it with yeast. The resulting beverage is a clear, light-colored drink with a slightly sweet taste. It can range in strength from as low as 5% to as high as 20%.
Types of Sake
Sake comes in a variety of styles and flavors. The two main types of sake are junmai and honjozo. Junmai is made with only rice, koji, and water, while honjozo is made with added alcohol. Other types of sake include ginjo, which is made with a special type of rice and higher-grade koji, and namazake, which is unpasteurized and needs to be refrigerated.
Sake can also be classified by the type of rice used in its production. Some of the most popular types of sake rice include Yamada Nishiki, Gohyakumangoku, and Omachi. Each type of rice produces a unique flavor and aroma.
How to Drink Sake
Sake is typically served cold, but it can also be served warm. The traditional way to drink sake is in a small ceramic cup called a sakazuki. However, sake can also be served in a variety of other vessels, such as wine glasses or even sake bottles.
When drinking sake, it is important to pour for others before pouring for yourself. This is a sign of respect and is part of the Japanese culture. Additionally, it is important to not fill the cup to the brim as this is considered impolite.
My Experience with Sake
As a sake expert, I have had the pleasure of trying many different types of sake. My favorite type is junmai, which has a smooth and slightly sweet flavor. I often enjoy it with sushi or other Japanese dishes. I also enjoy trying different types of sake rice, as each one has its own unique flavor and aroma.
I also enjoy attending sake-tasting events, where I can sample a variety of different sakes. These events are a great way to learn more about sake and discover new favorites.
Overall, sake is an important part of Japanese culture and I am always excited to learn more about it. Whether you are new to sake or an experienced drinker, I encourage you to explore the many types of sake and find one that suits your taste.