Tag Archives: sake

Sake Step 1: Prepare the Rice!

Sake is a very complex alcohol that is made using a unique blend of wine-making and beer-brewing techniques.

In the Sake-making process, the first step is to prepare the rice for fermentation.

To this end, rice is passed over a rough stone to slowly ware down the hulls. The longer rice is pollished like this the better quality the Sake will be.

Polishing the rice like this process can take up to 4 days, and the finest quality of grains for making sake end up 50% of their original size.

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Have You Tried the World’s Most Popular Alcohol?

Jinro is a brand of a South Korean liquor called Soju. Producing 161 million gallons (608 million L) annually Jinro is also the most sold spirit in the world. In fact, it outsells Smirnoff, Bacardi, and Johnnie Walker combined!

Traditionally, Soju is a drink that starts out as rice wine (much like Sake) before getting distilled into a liquor. Today stage 1 of Soju is made not only with rice, but alternatively wheat, barley, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or tapioca.

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James Bond Got This Wrong

In You Only Live Twice—which takes place largely in Japan—James Bond (Sean Connery) tells Tiger Tanaka that he enjoys Sake, “Served at the correct temperature, 98.4°F.”

Though it is commonly held that Sake ought to be served warm, this is misleading. The tradition of serving the drink warm only started to mask the flavors of sub-par brews.

In particular, Sakes fortified with cheap liquor are of the sort to be served warm. Junmai or ‘pure rice’ sake is made without any distilled alcohol added, and ought to be chilled when served.

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Rice-Booze is 8,000 Years Old!

Between 8,000 – 9,000 years ago humans domesticated Rice. While that is no where near as sexy as domesticating wild horses in a western movie, it did pave the way for rice-based booze, which began 8,000 years ago, too!

The uncanny ability of the Rice plant to thrive in both flooded and dry fields gave it a leg up on crops into which early humans would want sink their efforts. While over 110,000 varieties of rice exist, only ‘Oryza sativa var. japonica’ is used for making alcohols like sake and rice wine.

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“Vile Rice Wine”

Sake is a wine that is made from fermented rice, instead of grapes. It is about 8,000 years old, having originated in the Henan Province of China.

Contrary to popular belief, Sake does not need to be served warm. In fact, it should not be served warm! This is a marketing gimmick that helps poor-quality sake go down more smoothly—just like the salt and lime with tequila (spoiler alert!).

In 1896 somebody at the New York Times had the pleasure of reviewing Sake for the first time. They described it as a, “Vile rice wine,” with a, “markedly poisonous effect.” It would seem that in the last 123 years we have come quite a ways in appreciating this unique beverage…except for drinking it warm!


Plum Wine Sangria

Plum Wine Sangria_sc_244x325Plum Wine Sangria:

  • 1.5 litres Gekkeikan Plum Wine
  • 6.0 ounces Raspberries (halved)
  • 2.5 ounces Lychee (peeled & sliced)
  • 1 naval Orange (cut into quarter slices)
  • 2 Star Anise pods
  • Dry Sake
  • Club Soda
  1. Combine Plum Wine and prepared fruit in a large serving pitcher
  2. Let sit 24 hours
  3. Cut level of sweetness with a dry Sake to taste
  4. Scoop fruit into serving glasses, fill with ice, pour 3/4 full with sangria, top with soda water.

Plum Wine Sangria_ing_sc_433x325