Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Jinmyo

For God's Sake! Is There a Sake Sommelier out There?

Recommended Posts

trillium   

I would argue that sake is neither. It's the process of a co-fermentation of mold (aspergillus oryzae Globosus) and yeast. Well, maybe not, since lambics are co-fermentations of bacteria and yeast. Anyway, I think it deserves its own catagory, due to the necessity of koji (rice innoculated with mold).

regards,

trillium

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JAZ   
I would argue that sake is neither.  It's the process of a co-fermentation of mold (aspergillus oryzae Globosus) and yeast.  Well, maybe not, since lambics are co-fermentations of bacteria and yeast.  Anyway, I think it deserves its own catagory, due to the necessity of koji (rice innoculated with mold).

regards,

trillium

Well, no grain can ferment without some method of breaking down the starches into fermentable sugars. That's why barley is "malted" -- sprouted just enough to do that, then dried to stop the germination process -- and then boiled. For sake, bacteria is used with rice to get the grain to a stage where the yeast can work.

By contrast, yeast can and does ferment fruit in its natural state.

I do agree, however, that despite the technical category, sake does stand alone.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Torakris - interesting article. From a brewer's perspective, yield is often at war with the quality of the finished product; more extract in the mash tun often comes by final runnings which are loaded with impurities (largely tannins, anthocyanogens, and high alkalinity by-products) which will greatly affect the final product. With sake, given that the finished product is wrought at the end, and pressing is exactly what is needed, it was sad for me to see so much loss by retained sake in the rice - and I would have liked to employ the alcohol addition method. Here, yield and quality seem complementary, not at odds.

I'm with the article's conclusion: as long as it's known and by design (as opposed to by deceptive or shoddy trade practice), I care only about the quality of the final product, and if that can be abetted by the use of ethanol, making it superior to "pure" products, then so be it.


-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look for a higher quality sake. A nice primer on sake is located here: http://www.sakeone.com/education/index.htm

I have only enjoyed sake at a restaurant and it was served warm, this tutorial was an eye opener for me.

I bought my first bottle a few days ago, I have yet to try it but I'm looking forward to it. It was the Momakawa brand.


"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't drink much sake, so I was wondering if anyone out there had any particular brands they could recommend to me for a nice moderately priced sake. Thanks


"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John W.   

Where do you live? If in NYC area, I can certainly direct you to a few bars that have a boatload of labels.

Other than that, if something looks like it's packaged for Americans, stay away. Also, look for ginjo or daiginjo (has to do with the polishing of the rice, the more polished the grain then the higher the quality). Also, check for junmai (means 100% rice). Some names that I like that should be easier to find are Suisin, Onikoroshi and Maibo. If you can't read the label, there is a better chance that it will be good. And if you drink them by yourself, get smaller bottles. 1500 ml are quite big, and the fragrance doesn't last.

Apologies in advance for spelling errors or innaccuracies, but I have no notes in front of me.

Another fun thing is nigori-zake (sake unfiltered). The consistency of milk but damn tasty.


Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vengroff   

I second what John says. I really don't know any of the brands, but looking for the two key words "junmai" and "diaginjo" on the label has always gotten me a smooth drinkable product.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John W.   

I would say young. Some are built to age, but I have seen no benefits from it.


Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rfc   

I spent time living in Kyoto, and was fortunate enough to try uncountable varieties. Needless and sad to say, very very few of them make it to America, though in cities with larger Japanese population, you can do better.

My favorite from the Kansai region is Mizunoshirabe. Its best served room temperature or slightly cool. I have had this in sushi restaurants, upon asking, but its not often on the menus.

The easiest fine sake to find in Japanese supermarkets etc is Mu.

While travelling in Japan, almost all sake (once you get past the One Cup level, etc) is very good. Its then just a matter of thinning it down to a specific taste you like, and weather you prefer it warm or cooled, or one versatile enough to do both.

I prefer the cool sakes by far, though few things are as wonderful as gripping a steaming cup early in the morning on new years day at the local shrine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My advice is never to look for a particular brand, there are just to many and the odds you'll encounter the specific brand you're looking for are to thin. Try to find a specific grade. In general, the more polished the rice, the better the sake, as such try looking for "Junmai Daiginjo".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sinbad   

Don't know if you have been to Japan yet, but if not you should consider visiting a distillery. Many sake distilleries offer (usually self-guided) tours where you can taste and buy sake. I visited two when I was in Japan earlier this year, good fun and obviously I bought some sakes. To my knowledge there are no distilleries in Tokyo, but if you visit a smaller town they might have a distillery. Ask around at the Tourist information center.

IMO, serving a sake that was bought at the distillery gives a little bit of added satisfation, same as serving a wine that was bought at a small winery when travelling.


Edited by Sinbad (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there

was wondering if there is a sake expert out there?

My friend is going to Japan and I asked him to bring back a couple of bottles of good sake, i would like some recommendations.

I'm a real beginner to sake and most of the time i'm drinking ozeki

( i know but its the only sake they serve in japnese restaurant in the UK!! :sad: )

I find ozeki far too sickly sweet but beggers can't be choosers.

But i did try Hokusetsu sake in Nobu and i really liked it but it was like £15 for a tiny little bottle!!

I would appreciate it if someone could recommend a few sakes and give the name and approximate price in japan and if you got a picture of the bottle even better :laugh:

I'm willing to spend £50-75 (10,000-15,000) Yen for the most expensive bottle

and buy another two cheaper bottles.

would that be a reasonable budget?

Also does tokyo airport have a duty free section?

would it be cheaper to buy sake in there??

any help would be appreciated :biggrin:


"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hiroyuki   

I wish I could help you, but to tell you the truth, I'm not much of a Japanese sake drinker; I prefer beer (low-malt beer) and shochu. And I can only recommend the brands in Niigata, the heartland of Koshihikari rice. As I mentioned in another thread, kome-dokoro wa sake-dokoro (translation: a good rice producing district is a good sake producing district).

Thus, my only recommendations would be:

Kakurei 鶴齢

Takachiyo 高千代

http://www.shiozawa-rta.gr.jp/product/sake.html

(Sorry, Japanese only)

But if you gave me more specific information about your preferences, I could search for the best brand for you, by using the websites dedicated to sake, like this one:

http://www.asku.com/sake/

(Japanese sake guide)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks Hiroyuki

well the one i tried before was this one

JUNMAI-SHU, HOKUSETSU SAKE CO., SADO, NIIGATA

from niigata as you said :)

well the description in the menu was

"Crisp, dry and light body. Delicate acidity and pleasant astringency"

so guess i go for this type of sake.

any leads will be greatly appreciated.

by the way i tried shochu, how you meant to drink it?? as neat it very strong.

The waiter in the japanese restaurant said you mix it with cold oolong tea or plum??


"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hiroyuki   
by the way i tried shochu, how you meant to drink it??  as neat it very strong.

The waiter in the japanese restaurant said you mix it with cold oolong tea or plum??

There are two types of shochu (焼酎 in Chinese characters) in Japan, koh-rui 甲類 and 乙類, as I mentioned in this thread:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=20711

Koh-rui shoshu is really pure, has no flavor, so it can be mixed with almost anything, for example, oolong tea, lemon juice, just to name a few. I like this type of shochu because of its low price.

Otsu-rui shochu has some flavor and more expensive. A famous one is Iichiko (いいちこ), which is made from barley.

http://www.sakayaclub.co.jp/scripts/urakawa/cyuya/iti.htm

You can drink it with water or make it on the rocks.

There are other types of otsu-rui shochu, like imo-jochu (not imo-shochu), which is made from sweet pototoes. In Japan, otsu-rui shochu has gained popularity these days. It is said that we are in the third shochu boom after the war.

***

Before I start searching for brands, can anyone answer origamicrane's second question:

Also does tokyo airport have a duty free section?

would it be cheaper to buy sake in there??

I want to make sure that the brands I'm going to recommend are available there.

Anyone?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had an exquisite sake in San Francisco at "The House."

Heiwa Shzu (copied directly from the menu): tokubetsu-honjo ginjo "10,000 apricot blossoms," wayakama, japan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
torakris   

Japan Duty Free homepage:

http://www.japan-dutyfree.com/x010.asp?BLD...=300&NM=&PAGE=1

sorry only in Japanese, seems to only list western style liquors, I am not sure if this is their entire selection of what is available in the stores though....


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi everyone

thanks for the help

actually someone mailed me privately and put me onto a sake expert :)

awaiting their response with bated breath :)

anyway just to continue this thread a little longer i was wondering

can you buy good sake at any off license in japan??

or do you have to go to a specialist shop??

as if you do,

how about some names and addresses of recommended stores in tokyo??

: :wub: sake hmmmmm......

domo


"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kazuo   

Most department stores have a decent selection; personally I like the selections at the Tokyu Honten (Bunkamura) and Takashimaya in Nihonbashi. There are specialty shops around town, but unless your friend knows Tokyo well and has time to search out these places, it might be faster to go the department store route.

Personal favorites that are reasonably easy to find include Tsukasa Botan, Suigei, Kubota Manju, Bishonen, etc. There are a number of small production, artisanal sakes as well but I don't keep up with these. I recall that both Tokyu and Takashimaya have a sake specialist on staff to make recommendations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Min   

tagging on this thread...

what about sake for cooking?What are the preferred brands japanese women use for preparing meals?Been wanting to ask for the longest time. :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hiroyuki   

There is a special type of sake, 調理酒 (choh-ri-shu) or cooking sake.

You can always use regular, drinking sake instead, but cooking sake is much less expensive than regular sake. The 1000-ml one in the photo sells for about 300 yen.

i7514.jpg

EDIT:

It is also called 料理酒 (ryoh-ri-shu).


Edited by Hiroyuki (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi all

the nice man called Jonathon Read replied to me and gave me a wonderful suggestion which was to vist a japanese sake brewery (kura) and try the freshly made sake.

Well i been to Champagne for the champagne :wink: so this sounds like a brilliant idea he even sent me alist of breweries to try and visit :laugh:

read below

thanks again Jonathon.

-------------------------------------------------

I think Osaka area will be your best bet for visiting a kura. One of the most respected in the area is that of Aki-shika ("Autumn Deer") located in the Nose area of the Osake prefecture.

Akishika Distillery, Inc.

1007 Kuragaki Nose-cho Toyono-gun

0727-37-0013

Some other Kura in the area are as follows:

Kotobuki Distillery, Inc.

0726-96-0003

3-26-12 Tonda Takathuki-shi

Nakao Distillery, Inc.

0726-22-2205

6-34 Kamiizumi-cho Ibaraki-shi

Takashima Distillery, Inc.

0726-32-2226

2-8-3 Sawaraginisi Ibaraki-shi

Manryou Distillery, Inc.

0726-53-7488

5-3-29 Torikaihonmachi Settu-shi

Gosyun, Inc.

0727-51-2023

1-2-2 Ayaha Ikeda-shi

Yoshida Distillery, Inc.

0727-51-5063

17-10 Sakaehonmachi Ikeda-shi

Thujibayashi Distillery, Ltd.

0725-55-0024

55 Wada-cho Izumi-shi

Terada Distillery, Ltd.

0724-22-0601

22-30 Mathunami-cho Kishiwada-shi

Isaka Distillery Co.

0724-79-0074

117 Inaba-cho Kishiwada-shi

Terada Distillery Co.

0724-46-1680

808-13 Nagoe Aza-sunago Kaiduka-shi

Kitasyouji Distilleryten, Ltd.

0724-68-0850

3173 Hineno Izumisano-shi

Yoshimoto Distillery, Ltd.

0724-52-1665

1602 Ogaito Kumatori-cho Sennan-gun

Tahara Distillery, Ltd.

0724-65-0066

904 Kasyouji Tajiri-cho Sennan-gun

Naniwa Distillery, Ltd.

0724-72-0032

3-13-6 Ozaki-cho Hannan-shi

Saijo.Co

0721-55-1101

12-18 Nagano-cho Kawachinagano-shi

Hujimoto Distillery Co

0729-55-0018

2-1-10 Hujiidera Hujiidera-shi

Okina Distillery, Inc.

0729-56-0003

3-6-5 Karusato Habikino-shi

Choryu Distilleryu, Inc.

0729-23-6071

1-1-29 Yasunaka-cho Yao-shi

Daimon Distillery, Inc.

072-893-2181

3-12-1 Moriminami Katano-shi

Yamano Distillery, Inc.

072-891-1046

7-11-2 Kisabe Katano-shi

Shigemura Masaathu

072-858-1401

3-4-5 Hotani Hirakata-shi

If you can contact them a head of time they may well be able to get an English speaker for you... though many of them probably speak fine English to begin with.

Another thought is to go to a top sake bar in Osaka and (once you have enjoyed some of their higher end products) ask them if they can recommend and or even arrange for a visit to a local Kura. Many of them have very close contacts with the top local breweries. In Osaka, you might check out the Ji-zake Tengoku Shoya (literally translated to be something like "regional sake paradise"). It is a pretty cool sake bar located in a "seedy" shopping arcade. They have over 100 selections and an unusually large selection of aged sake (koshu).

Ji-zake Tengoku Shoya

Meigaza Building

Abeno Ginza-dori

1F

1-7-47 Abenosuji, Abeno-ku

Osaka 545-0052

Tel: 06-633-1474

Fax: 06-633-1498


"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×