With the recent boom in Japanese food abroad, Sake is becoming more popular. It is reported that more than a 80% of foreigners visiting Japan drank Sake during their stay in Japan, and a 60% visited the sake brewery. Sake is spreading all over the world, but many people may not know much about it yet. This time, we tell you about the charm of sake, from the characteristics to how to choose best drinking vessels to taste it deliciously.
Characteristics of sake
Sake is unique to Japan made of rice, water, and rice-malt. Its origin is before 4,000 B.C. and has a long history. The characteristic of the taste is the full-bodied “umami (one of 5 basic tastes)” and aroma derived from rice. Since the ingredients are simple, the taste changes greatly depending on the quality of ingredients. There are about 1,400 sake breweries all over Japan from north to south, and they make Sake through the best use of their climate and natural features.
There are different types of Sake, even if they are made in the same brewery and under the same brand, depending on the manufacturing method. Another attractive point is that you can drink it in several ways, such as "hot”, "cold", and "normal temperature". By changing the temperature, you can enjoy a completely different aroma and taste. It's a good idea to change the temperature range depending on the mood of the day and the food you eat together.
Sake manufacturing process
Sake is made through more processes than beer and wine. In the case of wine, since grape itself as raw ingredients contains sugar, it can be alcohol-fermented simply by adding yeast. This is called "single fermentation".
However, since rice, the main ingredient of Sake, is starch and does not contain sugar, it does not ferment just by adding yeast. Therefore, the starch is saccharified once with the help of the enzyme of rice-malt, and then yeast is added for alcoholic fermentation.
The technology of simultaneously performing the two scientific reactions of saccharification and fermentation in the same tank is called "multiple parallel fermentation". The experiences and skills of craftsmen are tested in the Sake brewing process that is unique in the world.
How to choose Sake and drinking vessels by type
Even with the same Sake, the taste changes greatly depending on the glasses you choose. The types of Sake can be broadly divided into four types according to their taste and aroma. Here, let's see what type of Sake is suitable for what shape and material of drinking vessels.
Highly fragrant "Kunshu"
Most of Daiginjo and Ginjo are of this type. It has a fruity, gorgeous aroma and a light taste, so it is recommended to drink it a little chilled. It's a good idea to choose a glass wide-open so that you can enjoy the aroma.
This type is mainly Junmai. You can enjoy the original umami and richness of rice. It can be said that it tastes is typical Sake. It is enjoyable in various temperature ranges, but when it is warmed, you feel more flavor and taste. We recommend a pottery that is rounded and has a thick rim.
Light and dry "Soushu"
A type often found in Honjozo, raw Sake, and unbranded. With a refreshing and clear touch, it is relatively easy to drink. It is Sake that you want to enjoy with food rather than drinking it alone. If you cool it well and drink it in a small glass, you can enjoy the fresh taste unique to Soushu.
Well-cured aged Sake is characterized by its complex and profound aroma and taste. Let's enjoy little by little at your favorite temperature. We recommend a glass with a rounded bulge and a narrow mouth so that the heavy aroma does not escape.
However, these four types of classification are just a guide. Sake has a depth that you can freely enjoy in any style. It's also a good idea to choose the vessel you think this is based on your inspiration.
Although Sake is made of simple ingredients from rice, water, and rice-malt, there are many variations from those with a gorgeous aroma to those with a profound taste. One of the interesting things is that the taste differs depending on the temperature range and vessel. We hope you enjoy various ways of drinking.