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Sake 101

SAKÉ 101

Your Guide to

Understanding Saké

In Minutes!

Kanpai! (cheers in Japanese)

SAKÉ 101

Saké may seem overwhelming, but it is actually quite simple to understand.

How to Choose Your Saké

The most important aspect to the quality of Saké is the rice-polishing ratio. The lower the polishing number, usually the higher quality of Sake (a 50% polished Saké is a higher quality than a 70%).

Saké is categorized into 4 main categories: Daiginjo, Ginjo, Junmai & Honjozo & Unfiltered.

There are also some amazing bubbly Sake, which are amazing for celebrations.

Warm or Cold?

A fun fact about Saké: Most Sake is better chilled. However, in the USA, many drink it warm. After WWII, when US soldiers shipped Saké from Japan, by the time it landed stateside, it often times was warm. And so began the American tradition of warm Saké. If you want your Sake warm, we recommend 70% Junmai or Honjozo.

Alcohol Content

Saké averages out to around 16% ABV. If you compare that to a draft beer, one serving of Saké is the equivalent of 2-3 beers!

What is Saké?

A fermented rice drink, which averages 16% ABV, equivalent to 2-3 IPA Beers. Quality is determined by the percentage of grain remaining after polishing; the lower the percentage, the higher quality. It is closer to beer, in regards to the brewing process. However, it is enjoyed more like wine: sipped and savored.

How is Saké made?

It can be a protracted process but, explained simply, sake is made when special sake rice is ground, washed and steamed. The process is similar to brewing beer!

THE SAKE RICE PROCESS:

• Polish - removes the outer layer of protein and oils
• Rest
• Wash and Steam
• Add koji (mold spores)
• Ferment for about a month
• Filter
• Mature in a barrel - 6 months to 1 year

Japanese Customs when drinking Saké

DON'T LET YOUR FRIENDS POUR THEIR OWN SAKE. IT IS CUSTOM TO POUR FOR ONE ANOTHER.

RAISE YOUR GLASS FOR A TOAST! THE JAPANESE TERM FOR "CHEERS" IS "KANPAI"!

  • 70% Polishing

    Value: Honjozo / Junmai

    Both are polished to 70%. The difference is Junmai is categorized as pure rice (no additives) and tends to be richer and fuller body with acidic earth tones. Honjozo has a distilled alcohol added, which smooth’s out the flavor, creating a light and mildly fragrant Saké.
  • 60% Polishing

    Mid-Premium: Junmai Ginjo / Ginjo

    Still a premium Saké, but at 60% polishing. It is light and complex, usually with intense, fragrant aromatics.
  • 50% Polishing

    Ultra Premium: Junmai Daiginjo

    These premium Saké are 50% polished and will generally be light, with an elegant fragrant fruity profile. Known as the “pinnacle of the brewers art”.
  • Unfiltered

    Nigori

    Nigori is Saké that has a cloudy appearance. Usually has a slightly sweet and creamy texture. Delicious as a dessert Saké. Served Chilled.
  • Sparkling

    Similar to Champagne

    For special celebrations, you can often replace champagne or sparkling wine with a delicious sparkling Saké!

Of course, don’t hesitate to ask your server about any of our sake offerings!

Check out our drink menu!