Sake, like sushi and onigiri, plays a prime part of the Japanese heritage and cuisine that most people from foreign countries have an understanding that is superficial. This article will serve as a guide for the curious of the drink’s origin, how it is ordered and served, and what are the best dishes to complement it with.
Technically speaking, sake or saké is an original Japanese alcoholic beverage prepared from fermented rice, koji (often translated as rice malt or ye ast made from rice) and water. Sake is also referred to as “rice wine” in the English language. The wine is produced by fermenting sugar that is naturally existent in grapes. While sake, on the other hand, is manufactured by a brewing process more like that of beer. In Japanese, the term ‘sake’ also means alcoholic brews in universal. There’s some argument about the origin of the drink for a long time, but two books written about 713AD indicates of an alcoholic beverage made from rice. The two book would be considered as the basis of the modern-day forms of the Japanese sake.
Tōji are namesake of sake makers or brewers, as with barista is to coffee and patisserie is to pastry. Employees in sake breweries are also known as kurabito. Sake is classified by how refined the rice is before the brewing process. The more refined the rice is, the higher the grade of sake. The process for making sake can be a long process, simply elucidated, sake is completed when rice is grinded, washed and steamed. Then, koji, yeast extracted from the process, is made from some extracts from the steamed rice. At that juncture, the koji and the remaining steamed rice and water are mixed and fermented. After more rice, koji and water is added, the mixture is filtered and bottled.
The Japanese drink sake at home and when they are dining at restaurants and bars. Sake is mainly consumed with a casual style of bar in Japan called izakaya. People can enjoy sake either by savoring it alone or with food alongside it. Sake is now also an essential part of Japanese cuisine, and is used as a cocktail constituent these days. Nowadays, tojis and wine lovers alike keep on innovating the taste and tone of sake that even a single restaurant is capable to offer more than 25 brands of sake. Reasons can be of accidents, necessities or just some sort of leisurely pursuit. But let’s not fuss about that. What’s important is that it’s a heritage of time and culture and food. Kampai!