In the spirit of today being World Sake Day, we encourage Daily Sip readers to go out and try one of the many outstanding sakes available in Japanese and Thai restaurants or at retailers around the country and online. Sake is best when served chilled or at room temperature, and can also be found in many cocktails including a sakatini and a sake bomb.
Japan has over 1200 sake breweries, and the premium sakes they make are divided into four special designations:
Ginjo – Ginjo means “special brew” and the sakes in this designation must have must have the rice polished down to below 60% of its original size.
Junmai Ginjo – Junmai means “pure rice.” So a Junmai Ginjo is made from pure rice and a special brew, with below 60% rice polishing ratio.
Daiginjo – Daiginjo means “very special brew.” To be designated Daiginjo, a sake must have a rice polishing ratio below 50%.
Junmai Daiginjo – The top of the line in sakes, Daiginjo sakes use pure rice and a “very special brew”, with a rice-polishing ratio of below 50%. They are generally made using traditional methods and in small quantities – thus the higher prices you’ll see for them. But true sake aficionados value the full flavors, complexity and finesse.
Any of these designations can be “nigori”, which means “cloudy” and is a result of being unfiltered. Here are a few of our recent favorite sakes:
Momokawa “Pearl” Junmai Ginjo Nigori Genshu ($13.00)
This is a delicious, creamy, full-flavored sake with tropical notes. Great with spicy Asian food and barbecue, but smooth enough to drink on its own. Amazing value. Find it here.
Kamoizumi “Summer Snow” Nigori Ginjo ($28.00)
An unfiltered, creamy white sake. Slightly sweet, with a long finish. Find it here.
Masumi “Nanago” Junmai Daiginjo ($60.00)
Smooth, creamy, yet interesting for its complexity and slight acidity. Find it here.
What sakes have you tried lately? Let us know below.
Photo Credit: Epicurious