How to drink sake? This question is asked by anyone who first encounters a Japanese rice alcoholic beverage. And at the same time, what sake is eaten with, what temperature should be served on the table and with what snacks. We will talk about all this in this article.
At what temperature should I drink sake? Is it really hot?
The Japanese say this: "Good sake is drunk cold, bad - warm or hot." Although in the old days it was heated specifically to keep warm in the fall and winter, but since then the situation with heating the home has improved. And now this drink is heated only to hide its shortcomings. Excellent samples cool down to 5 degrees. Well, or at least served a little cool. Poor ones are heated in special small jugs, putting them in warm or even hot water. But the drink itself, of course, is not boiled. So best serve sake at a temperature of 5-10 degrees (from the refrigerator that is). But you can just a little cooler than room temperature.
How and from what sake is drunk in Japan and Russia?
In Japan, sake is poured from small porcelain or ceramic jugs into small cups literally for 1-2 sips. Moreover, it is not customary to pour it to oneself. For the Japanese, it looks rude and rude. The owner of the house pours the guests, and one of the guests pours the owner.
But here in Russia it is not at all necessary to observe these conventions. You can easily drink from wine glasses. Or small tulip-like cognacs. At the same time, be sure to enjoy the non-poor aroma of this rice drink.
What does sake have for? Options for snacks to and from the drink
An ideal snack to sake are Japanese dishes: sushi, rolls, various soups and so on. It was under them that this drink was created for centuries (and even millennia). So this combination is best suited in this case.
But it is not at all necessary to limit oneself only to them. Light salads, not too aromatic cheeses, all kinds of seafood and so on will fit perfectly. The main thing is not to overdo it with a taste-aromatic bouquet of food served to the table. It should not be more powerful than the drink itself. This is the only way you can enjoy a unique and often very interesting aroma-flavor bouquet of sake (sake). Drink with pleasure!
How to drink sake samurai and good gaikokujin
Still think sake is only warm? You risk becoming a gaijin. This is another cultural myth. In general, it is believed that they drink warm sake of low quality, from the Futsushu series, but premium varieties should be drunk slightly chilled. This is also partly a fallacy. The Japanese themselves do not mind drinking both cold nihonshu and warmed up to 55 ° C. But to experiment with expensive varieties, such as "ginjo-shu" or "daiginju-shu", you need to be very, very careful.
p, blockquote 7,0,0,0,0 ->
First you need to know what sake is used for. They serve it in small jugs, which collectively are called Tokkuri, a ceramic flask with a volume of about 360 ml. Also often called tokkuri "choshi", though choshi is often made of metal. Tokkuri come in many shapes and sizes. In everyday life, they mainly use Tsuru-cubi, Mentori, Rosoku, Henko and Kabura
p, blockquote 8,0,0,0,0 ->
p, blockquote 9,0,0,0,0 ->
Tokkuri with sake is served on a special ceramic stand, which the descendants of the samurai call "tokkuri-hakama."
p, blockquote 10,0,0,0,0 ->
p, blockquote 11,0,0,0,0 ->
They drink sake from small sakazuki cups made of clay, glass or wood. There are also small square "tubs" of 30-40 ml. Previously, sake was drunk from large bowls, which were passed around, but today this ritual is morally obsolete. From sakazuki drink should be drunk in small sips, stretching pleasure for long hours.
p, blockquote 12,1,0,0,0 ->
p, blockquote 13,0,0,0,0 ->
What is very important: pouring yourself sake from tokkuri is considered bad form, only stupid gaijin does this. During the meal, you should treat your neighbor with a drink from your tokkuri, and he, in turn, must take care of you.
p, blockquote 14,0,0,0,0 ->
Pouring yourself sake from tokkuri is considered bad manners. When drinking nihonshu, your table neighbor should take care of this, just like you about his sakazuki.
A few words about heated sake. At home, preparing a Japanese drink is quite simple. To do this, put your toccuri in a pot or kettle with hot water for a few minutes. Depending on the supply temperature, warm sake is divided into:
p, blockquote 16,0,0,0,0 ->
- "Hinatakan" ("solar") - 30 ° C,
- "Itohadakan" ("human skin") - 35 ° C,
- "Nurukan" ("slightly warm") - 40 ° C,
- "Jokan" ("warm") - 45 ° C,
- “Atsukan” (“hotter”) - 50 ° С
- "Tobikirikan" ("extra") - 55 ° C.
Experiment with heating, but remember that a good sake does not need it!
p, blockquote 17,0,0,0,0,0 ->
What does a samurai and good gaikokujin drink with?
Some sake styles are best served chilled, some are served warm or almost hot. The same is with food. To begin with, I can say that sake can be drunk as an aperitif or digestif, so gastronomic accompaniment is not necessary. The simplest style is honjozo (“honjojo”) - a little distillate is added to the fermented wort during the production of this sake. Honjojo has a light, slightly coarse citrus flavor. This sake is pleasant to drink, both chilled and warmed up to 50 ° C with any seafood, in particular sushi, sashimi and teriyaki.
p, blockquote 18,0,0,1,0 ->
p, blockquote 19,0,0,0,0 ->
The more premium daiginjo (“daiginjo”), which is prepared in the middle of winter from polished rice only 50-60%, is usually drunk chilled or at room temperature. Such sake does not need an appetizer, and if nevertheless such a need arises, then dishes of lamb, duck or sashimi will be ideal accompaniment. By the way, in the homeland of this drink, they prefer to drink junmai daiginjo (“dzummai daiginjo”), a brighter representative of daiginjo with pronounced notes of melon, orange and sage in the aroma.
p, blockquote 20,0,0,0,0 ->
Finally, if you decide to earn the reputation of a decent gaikokujin, I recommend ordering sake genmai ("genmai") in the company of the Japanese. This style of sake is made from unpolished brown rice, so the drink has a very deep taste and aroma. Genmai is similar to sherry, but comparing it to popular wine would be a mistake. In the glass, it opens with almond notes, lime, and later with caramel and juniper. It is a sin to warm such a sake, and tempura, seasoned hard cheese and dark chocolate will be ideal snacks.
p, blockquote 21,0,0,0,0 ->
p, blockquote 22,0,0,0,0 ->
Finally, sake should be drunk in good company, and this is perhaps the main thing. Before each new toast, do not forget to add a drink to your neighbor. Well, where can I drink sake without the main Japanese toast - “Campai!” (Literally “To the bottom!”). True, this is not just a toast, but a whole custom. If you want to show sympathy for a person sitting next to you and pass for a cool gaikokujin, pour a full bowl of sake and serve it to that person. He should express his gratitude and drink the drink to the bottom, then rinse the sakazuki and also pour sake into it to the brim, and then pass the bowl to you.
p, blockquote 23,0,0,0,0 -> p, blockquote 24,0,0,0,1 ->
Sake Production Technology
Coarse rice with a high starch content is required to make sake. First, rice is ground to remove the grain shell and the germ, which, when fermented, bring an unpleasant aroma and taste in the sake. Ceteris paribus, the higher the degree of rice polishing, the better the quality of sake, the acceptable grinding range is 30-70%. This means that for expensive sake varieties they grind up to 70% of the grain, using only 30% of the grain core in production.
Polished rice is washed, soaked for 2-24 hours (the higher the degree of grinding, the less time is required), then treated with steam. Rice should soften, but not digest, otherwise the fermentation will be too fast, and the sake will not have time to incorporate all the notes of taste.
Pre-activated koji molds, water and yeast are added to steamed rice. For successful fermentation, you need to break down the rice in starch to simple sugars. In the production of whiskey and other grain distillates, malt is used for this purpose - sprouted grain, and in sake starch is processed into koji to sugars. This is the main difference between sake and other grain-based alcoholic beverages.
Rice wort ferments at a temperature of 15-20 ° C (expensive varieties at 10 ° C) 18-40 days. The longer the fermentation period, the higher the quality of the finished drink. The fermented wort is first filtered, an elite sake is obtained. Then the wort is pressed to extract the remaining liquid from it, so get the usual varieties.
According to Japanese law, sake can only be called a drink that does not contain sediment, so all types are filtered, sometimes wood charcoal is used for this purpose. Also, most sake varieties are pasteurized to kill the remnants of the yeast, which can cause re-fermentation in the bottle. Then, the sake is placed for 6-12 months in special containers for aging. Ultimately, the sake strength is 18-20% vol., But before bottling, the drink is usually diluted to 14-16%, because the Japanese do not like strong alcohol.
Ways to drink sake
Sake is drunk chilled or warmed up. The choice of method depends on the quality and price of the drink. Indirectly, the quality of sake is determined by the degree of polishing of rice, for elite varieties this figure should be at least 50-60%. The essence of grinding is that a surface containing essential oils is removed from the rice grain, due to which an unpleasant aftertaste appears in the drink. Finally, quality is determined by price.
Expensive premium sake is served cold (5 ° C) in wine glasses. The participants of the feast bring the glass to eye level, without clinking glasses, pronounce the word "kampay" - a universal Japanese toast that literally translates as "We drink to the bottom!". Then a small sip is taken. The appetizer uses traditional Japanese dishes, such as sushi and rolls. Spicy dishes should not be served with good sake, as they distort the taste.
Lower quality sake is drunk heated from a ceramic jug (tokkuri) and small cups (choko), the capacity of the latter is designed for 2-3 sips. Heating solves two problems at once: it allows you to warm yourself in the cold and hide the imperfections of the drink itself.
Sake is heated in a water bath, the optimum flow temperature is 15-30 ° C. A cup is filled before each toast. It is considered indecent to pour sake to oneself; this should be done by another participant in the feast. Hot sake is served with seafood, sandwiches, meat, vegetables and other dishes. The choice of food is not as strict as in the first case.