Sake is a refined wine with rich taste and aroma. It is entirely different from other wines in the market because of its manufacturing process.
Sake originated from China but became popular in Japan. Japan is renowned for producing rice in large quantities, making the production of Sake achievable in Japan. Just like other drinks, there is a wide variety of Sake with different flavors and aromas. It is best to try out as many sake flavors as possible until you could find the best one suited for you.
Before you decide to make Sake at that party, you need to be familiar with the right way to drink Sake to avoid embarrassing yourself. A sake experience is totally different from any drinking experience you have ever had.
As you read on, you will find the secret on how to drink Sake.
Sake is a traditional Japanese wine produced with fermented rice, unlike other alcoholic beverages made from fruits. This Japanese drink is a brew with a technique different from the regular fermentation process. The quality, taste, fragrance, and flavor of the sake drink are dependent on the brewing process.
The rice is well polished, and the outer layer is sieved from the core. The rice grain’s inner layer has a higher concentration of starch that is responsible for the Sake’s flavor and aroma.
The quantity of the milled rice will determine the type of Sake. The greater the rice quantity, the more refined the wine. The more well polished the rice, the higher the Sake’s quality. Some yeast amount is added to the rice, which helps in converting the starch content to sugar and alcohol.
The sake drink becomes lighter and crisper. Sake is often mixed with distilled alcohol to increase the alcohol content.
Wines are fermented in a two-stage process, and Sake is brewed in a one-step process. When producing wine, the fruit’s starch is converted into sugar, before the sugar is brewed into alcohol. During the fermentation process of Sake, the milled rice is converted from starch into sugar and alcohol at once.
The alcohol content present in Sake is higher than that of fruit wine or beer. A regular beer has approximately 3 to 9 alcohol content in it, and most wines contain up to 16 percent of alcohol. However, pure Sake contains about 15 to 20 percent of alcohol.
The sugar to acid content of Sake is described as the Sake Meter Value (SMV), referred to as Nihonshu-do in Japanese. If the SMV is -2 that implies that the Sake is a sweet flavored drink, and if it shows +5, it indicates dry Sake.
You don’t have to endure a sake that is not palatable to you. The alcohol content of the Sake you chose should suit your taste buds. Try as many flavors as possible until you find the right SMV level for you. Most sake manufacturers always mix the sake drink with water before sealing and selling.
How Best to Serve Sake
The different types of Sake have different serving temperatures. Some are best served chilled, and others are served either warm or at room temperature.
Sake can be served either chilled, warm, hot, or at room temperature depending on the weather. It is not ideal to serve Sake hot because the heat makes the drink lose its taste and aroma. Low quality and older Sake are served hot to disguise the taste.
How Sake is being served is dependent on the type of Sake, the drinker’s taste, and the weather. Sake often comes before the main dish alongside other appetizers such as sushi, nigiri, and sashimi. It helps to stir up your appetite.
Chilled Sake is ideal for hot weather, and warm Sake is best for cold weather. Good quality and high-grade Sake is best served at room temperature or chilled.
Although you can always drink Sake in a wine glass, the traditional way to serve this Japanese drink is in a small ceramic bowl. This China cup is known as Choko or sakazuki. The Sake is preserved in a porcelain bottle or an earthenware flask before it is poured into smaller cups or sauce like bowls.
Major Types of Sake
Just like there are sweet gin and dry gin, so also there is a wide variety of sake flavors and SMV contents. You need to know the names of the different types of Sake, so you don’t end up ordering the wrong one.
These different types of Sake are produced from different rice grains and how well the rice is polished distinguish a particular sake from the other.
- Amazake is a low alcohol sake with sweet flavor and aroma.
- Genshu is an unadulterated sake with high alcohol content.
- Junmai is a pure, refined sake with no addictive and low alcohol content.
- Namazaki is a fresh sake that has a sweet fruity taste.
- Koshu sake is one of the strongest Sake with high alcohol content.
Sip or Shot?
To get the best experience with this Japanese beer, you need to know the right way to drink sake wine. You may be wondering if you are to sip slowly or hurryingly drink the Sake. Here is how to drink Sake.
Whirl it, savor it and sip it.
Sake is not to be taken as a shot to avoid being tagged as a novice. You are to sip your Sake slowly, just like you would enjoy an expensive fine wine.
When drinking your Sake, allow it to stay in your mouth for a while before swallowing. This helps you to savor the drink and get the full taste.
Sake is a refined drink associated with special ceremonies and should be consumed with respect. There is a golden rule you need to always follow when drinking sake, which says never fill your wine glass by yourself. It is unethical to do that. Always make sure someone else pours the Sake into your glass and do the same for your drinking partner.
The best place to store your Sake, whether opened or not, is in a refrigerator and not a freezer. Or better still to preserve the life shelf of Sake, it is recommended to keep at room temperature in a cool, dry place.
A sake should not be stored for long so that it does not lose the distinct taste and flavor. It is advisable to drink up the Sake once it’s open or preserve it in a refrigerator and drink it up within a few days.
Sake is a highly versatile wine and has various ways to enjoy it with different serving temperatures. It can also be mixed with other drinks and juices.
You can try out the various ways until you find one you that is perfect for you. Sake is best served as an appetizer, and it goes well with spicy foods.