Sake Guide for Beginners
Since that Sake is produced with a cereal product it has a naturally low acidity, which is equivalent to about 1/3 of what is contained in alcohol that is produced with fruit juices. Sake does not contain sulfuric acid or added sulfites for this reason. Sake is also gluten-free, since rice does not contain it. For the production of Premium sake only carefully selected rice and spring water is used, whether it is sought locally or at the opposite end of the country is up to the individual brewery. In both cases, this will result in the same uncompromising pursuit of the absolute best ingredients.
TASTE & AROMA
Simply put, the taste of Sake has a moderately sweet, acidic character, which will vary greatly according to which brewing technique, characterizes the taste of sake, rice strain, water or yeast type is used in the production. The high content of Amino acids is an important component for the vitalizing taste of sake. It is this binding of amino acids that create the all-important Umami taste. Sake has a rich and uplifting aroma that is often sensed as fruity, or floral while the texture itself is sensed as soft spring water in the mouth.
Much energy will be put into communicating Sake at Kita, in the hope that everyone will feel welcome and tempted to experience what Premium sake has to offer. As for judging quality by picking up a bottle, it is important to remember at least one of the following two words Junmai or Ginjo. Choosing a Sake with one (or both) of these classifications you are sure to get a quality sake where a high degree of craftsmanship has been put into the production process. The best way to find out what you like is to try different types. Sake has a vast variety of taste-nuances and characteristics that will surprise most newcomers.
Sake has a natural alcohol content of around 18%, the highest of all fermented types of alcohol. One of the final stages of the brewing process, additions of spring water is poured into the finished sake, to lower the alcohol to about 15%. The percentage of alcohol varies from Sake to Sake, but the standard percentage will be around 15%. In some cases distilled alcohol is added to the fermenting mash prior to pressing the liquids from solids. This is done to achieve a certain taste or character, such as light, crisp and dry. Typically, you will find that this type of Sake has the same standard alcohol content of 15-16% or even lower because more spring water is also added.
One of the unique aspects of sake is the effect after just a few nibs. You will experience a sense of warmth and relaxation spread slowly in your body. There are many interpretations of this state and the sensation will vary from person to person, but often the word Spa or Sauna used.
Sake is very pure; it has a natural low acidic content, which is normally the culprit that affects many after a late night. Because quality Sake is free of additives and preservatives it is much easier for the body to process and no side effects are felt after moderate intakes. If you drink warmed sake the alcohol affects are fortified for both intoxication and after-effects, so do be careful.
WARM SAKE (Atsukanzake)
There are many misconceptions about hot sake because it is a known method of making cheap (fake) sake drinkable. If you have a quality Sake that is suitable for heating, then there is magic ahead. Especially when it's cold in the weather, warm sake is some of the best you can offer yourself and others on a dark winter evening. Warm the Sake to enhance the natural sweetness, to soften the texture and to bring out more Umami. Together with food there is great potential with warm Sake, where rustic casseroles, fried meats, baked root vegetables and soups are natural match. Sake types that are recommended for heating are Ginjo, Junmai, Honjozo and Genshu. Ginjo, Junmai, Honjozo and Genshu.
FOOD & SAKE
In Japan, Sake and food are basically inseparable. Since early times Sake has developed a natural synthesis with the local cuisine of Japan. The mild and subtle qualities of sake combined with lean Japanese cuisine are an enjoyment of another dimension. That said, Sake fits well with our Nordic cuisine. Pickled Herring, smoked fish, shellfish, rye bread, potatoes and smoked cheese are great with Junmai sake. Similarly, the more aromatic Sake types like Ginjo / Daiginjo compliment both creamy and light food such as risotto, salads, raw fish or air-dried meats to perfection.
There is no standard sake glass, such as the classic wine glass in wine culture. This is a quality, because it encourages you to improvise. Criteria for a good Sake glass do exist. The volume of the glass (or cup) should not be too big and preferable thin glass. It is as if the thinner the glass the better the Sake tastes. Different forms and materials help to determine how the taste is experienced. Small white wine glasses or small Italian table wine glasses work really well. If you drink from ceramic cups you will find that the taste takes a slightly new direction, likewise with cups of porcelain or Oyster shells!
In principle, a newly opened bottle of sake will last for several months in the fridge without going awry. Gradually it will loose its flavor complexity after around one month. For unpasteurized sake (Namazake), the lifespan is significantly shortened to about 3 weeks. The low acidity keeps sake from turning as fast as wine. Unopened sake can be fresh for years if only it is kept cool and dark. Again, this depending on type of Sake, Some types age better than others, such as Kimoto and Yamahai, while unpasteurized Sake is not ideal for maturing unless it is at kept at zero degrees.