Infinite Flavors Made From "Japanese Sake"

Infinite Flavors Made From "Japanese Sake"

Japanese sake is an indispensable part of Japan's food culture. It is a simple drink made mainly from rice, water, and malt, but its taste and aroma change infinitely depending on the production method and the way it is consumed! Nowadays, "SAKE," is attracting worldwide attention.

In this article, we will provide you with all the appeals of Japanese sake.

What is Japanese Sake?

"Seishu" is a type of alcohol made from a combination of rice, water, and malt. Only sake made exclusively with Japanese rice and produced in Japan is called "Japanese sake."

There are more than 20,000 brands of sake! Because it has taken root in the daily lives of the Japanese people and is widely enjoyed, a wide variety of brands have been invented over the centuries.

From sweet to spicy to fruity, the flavors are unlimited! There are sake with strong flavors for the connoisseur, as well as refreshing sake that even those who are not fond of alcohol will find themselves tempted to try. However, be careful not to drink too much, as the alcohol content of sake is higher than that of beer or wine, at around 15 percent.

Japanese sake is made by steaming the rice, adding malt and water, and then allowing it to undergo alcoholic fermentation. Fermentation requires sugar, but in fact, the raw materials for sake do not contain any sugar. This is where malt comes into play! Malt has the power to convert rice starch into sugar.

Furthermore, "saccharification" is the process of "alcoholic fermentation" all of which are carried out in a single barrel, which is particular to Japanese makers. This is a unique production method that can only be realized through the advanced skills of our brewers!

There are approximately 1,800 Japanese sake breweries in Japan. Some of them are open for tours, so sake enthusiasts are encouraged to visit. Maybe they will even let you sample some freshly made sake!

The Types of Japanese Sake

In Japan, sake is an essential component of any meal. It is not an exaggeration to say that Japanese cuisine is made to go well with sake!

However, there are so many different types that it can be difficult to know which one to choose. So, here are some of the different types of Japanese sake.

Honjozo Sake

Honjozo sake is made by brewing alcohol along with water, rice, and malt.

Brewing alcohol is a highly purified alcohol made from fermented sugar cane or other fermented materials. It has no taste or odor, so it is characterized by a clean taste with no impurities.

In addition, the rice used as a raw material is never used whole; instead, the surface is scraped off. In the sake world, this is called "polishing." The more polished the rice is, the less of it that can be used as a raw material, but it produces a sake with a strong aroma and no impurities. Depending on the degree of polishing, Honjozo sake can be further categorized.

  • Daiginjo
  • Ginjo
  • Honjozo

Ginjo is more polished than Honjozo, and a Daiginjo is more polished than a Ginjo. For example, Daiginjo sake would have more than 50%! And because the process of gradually polishing the rice while leaving the center of the rice intact takes time and effort, the price of the sake sold tends to go up as well.

Junmai Sake

Junmai sake is made with only rice, water, and malt. Unlike Honjozo sake, no brewing alcohol is added, allowing the sake drinker to directly taste the umami, flavor, and richness of the rice. Many sake lovers consider Junmai sake to be the epitome of sake.

Junmai sake is also classified into four categories according to the degree of rice polishing.

- Junmai Daiginjo

- Junmai Ginjo

- Junmai

Some Junmai Daiginjos are made with a staggering 99% polished rice! This is the ultimate sake, requiring 1,800 hours of polishing alone, and is of course very expensive, with a price of more than 100,000 yen per bottle.

The Temperature is the Key to Japanese Sake

The most important factor in enjoying Japanese sake is the temperature of the sake!

Sake is a rare drink where it can be drunk at various temperatures depending on the season and your personal preferences. As the temperature changes, the taste and flavor also change in a variety of ways.

0-15° is "reishu." Cold sake has a refreshing, clean taste because the sweetness and aroma are suppressed.

20-25° is "hiya." This temperature is quite close to room temperature and is recommended when drinking high quality, high grade sake, as it allows you to taste the true taste and flavor.

30-40° is "nurukan." Meaning lukewarm; this is the best way to enjoy the soft aroma and flavor, and the sweetness that is unique to Japanese sake.

45-55° is "atsukan." Hot sake; the sweetness is reduced and a sharp, dry taste can be experienced. It warms up your cold body, so in the winter time, it is best to drink hot sake.

By the way, Japanese sake is sold in units of "gou," which is approximately 180 ml. Usually, you would order one first, and if you like it, the second "gou," and if you are a drinker, get the third "gou."

Hearts Are Bound by Japanese Sake

In this article, we have discussed in detail the appeals of Japanese sake.

We drink sake to enjoy its flavor, but it is also to deepen friendship among friends. Therefore, when drinking sake in a group, it is traditional in Japan to have a small cup called a "ochoko" and pour sake into it for each other. If someone's cup is empty, be quick to pour it for him or her. The taste of sake shared with a group of long time friends is amazing and something you will never forget!