Sake Primer for Sakee Drinkers

Sake: A primer of Sorts

In essence wine, but its production is more similar to beer’s. There is a taste or type for every palate. The important ingredients are GOOD water and rice. It’s part of almost all traditional ceremonies/rites. These days the production is entirely automated. (Compared to the olden times, when it was all done by hand, there’s a long history of farmers harvesting in the warm weather and making sake in cold.) I highly recommend visiting a sake brewery; sometimes they have historical exhibitions that show the old brewing style and of course have tastings.

Etiquette for pouring is to hold it in two-cupped hands and have someone else pour for you. And if you get the chance, always offer to pour for your Japanese friends. (Major brownie points!)

General Sake Info:

-The differentiating factor is the amount of rice polished off-

Junmai: pure sake, no distilled alcohol added –No required amount-

(A ginjo and daiginjo can also be Junmai or have no distilled alcohol added)

Honjozu: a little distilled alcohol is added                            >30%

Ginjo:                                                                                   >40%

Daiginjo                                                                              >50%

Namazake: unpasteurized and ‘livelier’ sake

(Any of the prior mentioned sakes can be namazake)

Futsushu: Non-special designation sake

Jizake: Homebrew

Daiginjo is the ‘highest quality’, having the most subtle nuances etc. However, cheaper sake is just as good, if not better for the average person.

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