Recently I sat down with a group of people to conduct my first-ever sake tasting. The event was hosted by SakeOne, a craft sake brewer that's based out of Oregon and known for producing award-winning and fun-flavored sakes.
The tasting paired 15 sakes with different artisan cheeses also from the beaver state. As I took my first sip of the grassy, smooth, vanilla-ish Momokawa Diamond, I realized that I didn't know very much about sake.
Here are 10 facts that I learned from the experience.
- Contrary to what I was taught in college, the appropriate way to sip sake is not hot and dunked into a mug of beer, but rather, cold. In Japan, sake is served chilled. Because heating it will mask the flavor, if sake is offered hot, that means it's poor quality, bad-tasting sake.
- All sake needs a special mold to ferment. It's called the koji mold. At SakeOne, they hand-mix the koji into the rice to help break down the starches.
- The water that's used to make sake is more important than the rice. Only the purest of water can be employed, as it directly affects the taste and quality of the sake.
- Although sake is known as rice wine, its production is more similar to beer than wine.
- To make a batch of sake, the entire process of brewing, fermentation, and maturing takes three weeks.
- Sake has a great range and can give extra dimension to many different types of cuisine. When serving it, think beyond sushi. It paired surprisingly well with a variety of cheeses.
- Traditional sake glasses have concentric rings on the bottom of the glass. This is to see the clarity of the alcohol.
- Sakes are great for mixology and can be used to add depth and flavor to cocktails.
- Nigori is unfiltered sake, which is why it has a cloudy white color.
- Sake does not age well and should be enjoyed within a year of purchasing.
Keep reading for more things you may not know about sake!
Do you drink sake? Tell me your thoughts on it below!