This summer we’re celebrating all things Sake, and would love to welcome you to the world of ‘Nihonshu’, the traditional name for Sake in Japan.
Whether you share our passion for Japan’s favourite alcoholic drink, or would just like to learn more about its intricacies, then our team are on hand to aid you in your new spirit of adventure!
Sake has been around for years – over 2,000 years some say, so this refined drink is here to stay.
There are hundreds of Sake brewers across Japan, but we source all our Sake from one artisanal craft brewery in Hyogo called Akashi-Tai, a 4th generation family brewer that has been producing hand-crafted, premium, small batch Sake for over 150 years.
Want to know a bit more about this famous Japanese alcoholic drink? Well, here’s our run down of some top facts and how best to enjoy your Sake.
- Sake is often mistakenly referred to as ‘rice wine,’ but the way it’s produced is far more akin to brewing than it is to wine fermentation. Similar to beer, Sake is made when the starch from rice is converted into sugars and fermented into alcohol.
- Sake is about as natural as they come, made only of 4 simple ingredients – rice, water, yeast and koji (that’s a naturally forming ‘mould’ that creates the enzymes needed to make the Sake magic happen).
- Sake styles vary depending on the rice grain used in the fermenting process, the ‘polishing’ of each rice grain – which refers to how much rice grain is milled away before the fermentation process, and, whether distilled alcohol is added to the fermented mash.
- Sake strength is more on a par with wine that it is with spirits. This clear, colourless liquid, often served in small cups, has mistakenly been thought of as a ‘shot’ for years, when in fact the alcoholic content is pretty much right in between wine and port.
- In Japan there’s a saying: “Nihonshu wa ryori wo erabanai”, meaning “Sake does not get into fights with food.” As a drink, Sake is great as an aperitif, but it really comes in to its own when it’s paired with food – especially Japanese food! Different Sakes can bring out the flavours of different foods to help make your meal even more enjoyable and memorable. Just ask our team for their recommendations.
- Did you know it’s rude to serve your own Sake? In Japan it’s customary for diners to pour Sake for one another, and when they’re filling you up, to slightly lift your cup towards them.
- Kanpai! Once everyone has been served their Sake, it’s customary for all to raise their sake cups for a toast. The traditional word for ‘cheers’ in Japanese is ‘Kanpai.’ Say it while gently touching the Sake cups together before taking your first sip.
There’s so much to discover and learn about the world of Sake… this is just our starting point!
Want to find out more about the range of Sake’s that we serve in the restaurant and which dish each of them goes best with? Then be sure to ask a member of the team when you next dine with us for their recommendations, plus you can download our handy guide here.