Sake: A primer of Sorts 酒
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%
Namazake: unpasteurized and ‘livelier’ sake
(Any of the prior mentioned sakes can be namazake)
Futsushu: Non-special designation sake
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.