Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sake News

Kanpai! Here is another short list of some of the interesting Sake articles that have been published lately. It is great to see more and more coverage for Sake, though I recommend that anyone seeking to publish a Sake article check it at least a few times for accuracy. A few basic errors continue showing up in introductory Sake articles, and those errors would be easy to eliminate if you had a knowledgeable Sake person check your facts. Let us also hope that we see more than just introductory Sake articles in the future. Sake has many depths and all those varied facets make great material for articles.

1) In general, you won't find many Sakes that are priced over $150 for a 720ml bottle at retail shops. However, you can find a small list of 7 expensive Sakes at This Is Asia. Prices range from $520 to $3300, though some of the bottles are 1.8 liters, which is twice as large as the usual 720ml bottle. So comparatively, the highest price for 720ml would be the Bessei Gouka Kamotsuru Daiginjo, at about $1320. And for the record, I've never tasted any of the Sakes on this list. Have any of my readers tasted any of these expensive Sakes?

2) Want to brew your own Sake? Several new Sake breweries will be sprouting up in the U.S. in the near future, including one in Massachusetts. Some of these brewers started making Sake at home. If you would like to try this at home, you could purchase a newly offered Sake Making Kit from Norse Hutchens. For $57, you get nearly everything you need to make Sake, except for white raisins and sugar. You can even read the directions to use the kit online. This is really a makeshift way of making a Sake-like product and is more a diversion than for someone who is serious about making Sake. If you would like better advice on home brewing Sake, check out Brewing Sake: Release the Toji Within.

3) Sake brewing has also been growing in other countries outside of Japan, from Brazil to Norway. Anna Greenhouse provides a nice summary of these breweries in HarperscoUk. The info about the three Sake breweries in Brazil was very informative. I knew of two breweries there, but had little details about their operations. The info on upcoming breweries in Britain and Scotland is also very intriguing. This is a Sake article I strongly recommend you check out.

4) Get ready to raise an ochoko and celebrate Sake Day ("Nihonshu no Hi") on October 1. Saké Day originated in 1978 by a declaration of the Japan Saké Brewers Association. It is now celebrated worldwide, though local celebrations are very sparse. Why was October 1 chosen? Interestingly, the Chinese character for Sake (酒) is very similar to the Chinese zodiac sign for the Rooster (酉), the tenth sign. Thus, the first day of the tenth month, October, became Sake Day. It may also be due in part to the fact that October is generally considered to be the official start of the Sake brewing season.

Think ahead for your Sake Day celebration and seek out a bottle of Sake to buy and take home. Remember, Sake pairs well with all kinds of foods. Or make reservations at a restaurant with a good Sake list, like Thelonious Monkfish in Central Square, Cambridge.  If you need any suggestions or assistance with Sake, feel free to email me.

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