Best ways to store and enjoy sake

Please enjoy sake with an appropriate amount of food over time, rather than chugging down sake at once. The appropriate amount of sake that prevents stress to the liver is one to two cups. Please keep this guideline in mind and do not drink alcohol one to two days a week to rest the liver. 
Please do not consume sake with medication, during pregnancy, or during the weaning period. 
Also, please do not take a hot bath or engage in heavy exercise after sake consumption, nor pressure others to consume sake. 
The Japanese have a limited ability to breakdown alcohol, while Northern European nationals in Finland and Sweden tend to be highly tolerant of alcohol. Although there is an individual difference, two cups of sake is typically broken down between six to seven hours. 
Sake does not cause obesity. The calorie content of sake is 185 kcal per 100 ml. Obesity from sake consumption is caused by snacks enjoyed with sake, not sake itself. Also, while alcohol typically cools the body, this is not the case with sake (according to Health and Medicine of Alcohol Association).



日本酒を飲んでも太らない。日本酒のカロリーは100 mlで185 kcalで太るのはお酒と一緒に食べるおつまみが原因。また、アルコール体を冷やすが、日本酒は違う。(アルコール健康医学協会)
#alljapannews #japanese #japanesesake #sake


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (the very hectic month of December)

By Ryuji Takahashi
I continue to push myself despite feeling exhausted during the month of December, a busy and hectic month with no chance to rest until the new year. First on the schedule is the in-store sales event for Kondo Brewery (Kondo Shuzo Co., Ltd.) in Gunma prefecture. I happened to have new freshly squeezed sake, so I held the in-store sales event to sell the new sake and Junmai Ginjo “Kurobi” brewed using a centrifugal separator, winner of the Gold prize during the New York World Wine & Spirits Convention, over two days in the bitter cold weather.       
Kondo Brewery is the producer of the sake brand “Akagiyama.” Their flagship product is the Honjozo “Akagiyama Dry,” seemingly available in convenience stores, drug stores, and many stores that sell daily necessities. Seventy to eighty percent of this sake is consumed locally in Gunma prefecture, while seasonal and special sake are often not released in other prefectures. In Tokyo, only two stores including my own store deal directly with the brewery. At our store, customers from Gunma prefecture buy this sake product in bulk. 
The first day of the sales event concluded with an evening banquet at the brewery with lively discussions about sake, audio, and vehicles. The following week, I attended “An evening of Italian cuisine with sake” at the Italian restaurant “Karibe-tei.” Surprisingly, the event was attended by a record number of guests who feasted on luxury food ingredients such as lobster, shirako (soft roe), calf, and fresh oysters with eighteen sake bottles - nine different sake brands of two bottles each - the highest number of bottles consumed to date. The concluding dish was the bubbling Champagne Risotto. Guests took photos and videos of the bubbling Champagne Risotto.        
 The last collaborative event of the year featuring Italian cuisine ended successfully. I hosted the year-end hot pot dinner event with unrestricted time and appetizers brought by guests the following week. The final week consisted of three in-store sales events at Kanemasu Brewery in Niigata prefecture on the 28th, Hakuro Sake Brewery Co., Ltd. in Niigata prefecture on the 29th, and Nihonsakari Co., Ltd. in Hyogo prefecture on the 30th, leading into the New Year’s Eve sales event, the busiest event of the year.   
I was writing this article mid-December without encountering any major issue. I felt rushed to finish all my work before the end of the year, as I have many events and business trips scheduled in 2024. I feel deeply grateful for this past year that ended without any major injury or illness affecting my business, and for all the many customers who supported my business this year. I look forward to another year of sake fans consuming a lot of sake in 2024. 

#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Sake production process

Sake production process 

Sake production cleverly uses the microbial functions of koji mold, yeast, etc. in various tasks. The sake production method was mostly established by the early Edo period (1603-1868) with basically no major change to date. Sake production generally consists of the following five processes.    

1. Raw material preparation process
Three steps are required to prepare steam rice: “rice milling,” “washing and soaking,” and “steaming.” 
Steamed rice is used in each of the following three processes: Koji making, yeast starter and mash preparation. 

2. Koji preparation process 
The process to inoculate steamed rice with seed malt to prepare koji requires both traditional manual labor and mechanical production. Koji breaks down starch in steamed rice, and yeast generates sugar required to ferment alcohol.  

3. Yeast starter preparation process 
Culture sake yeast only in large volumes to ferment alcohol as purely as possible inside a mixture of steamed rice, koji, and water. The sake yeast starter is also referred to as “moto.” Purely cultured sake yeast is generally used, while sake yeast strains that inhabit the sake brewery are also used in some cases. Lactic acid used to prevent bacterial contamination is most important in preparing sake yeast, placed by naturally increasing lactic acid bacteria (Kimoto-type sake yeast starter) or adding lactic acid during the preparation (Sokujo-type sake yeast starter).    

4. Mash preparation process  
“Mash” is prepared by mixing steamed rice, koji mold, and water into the sake yeast starter in which alcohol ferments. One characteristic of sake production is not to add the ingredients (steamed rice, koji mold, and water) into the mash, but to add the ingredients in several stages to propagate the sake yeast while gradually increasing the volume, referred to as “stage preparation.” Generally, the “three-stage preparation” is used to divide the preparation into three stages, while the “two-stage preparation” and “four-stage preparation” are also used in some cases. 
After fermentation, the mash is squeezed after a certain time, then divided into sake and sake lees. At this stage, unprocessed sake is high in alcohol content, approximately twenty percent in some cases. Distilled alcohol is added to sake other than Junmai sake before squeezing.    

5. Filtration, pasteurization, and aging 
Refined sake is still cloudy after squeezing. After the sediments settle, cloudy sake is filtered and pasteurized, then stored. Storing the sake harmonizes the aroma and generates a unique sake flavor. Sake is finely filtered using activated carbon before adding some water to adjust the alcohol concentration (generally fifteen to sixteen percent), then bottled prior to shipment.
蒸米に種麹を接種して麹を造る工程で、昔ながらの手作業と機械製造とがある。麹は、蒸米のでんぶんを分解して、酵母がアルコー ル発酵するために必要な糖分を生成する。 
アルコール発酵を行なう清酒酵母だけを、蒸米と麹、水の混合物の中で、できるだけ純粋に近い状態で大量培養する。酒母は「酛」とも呼ばれる。 一般には純粋培養された酵母が用いられるが、 酒蔵に住み着いている酵母を使う場合もある。乳酸を存在させて雑菌の汚染をいかに防ぐかが酒母造りの最大のポイントで、乳酸菌を自然増殖させる伝統的な方法(生酛系酒母)と、仕込み時に乳酸を添加する方法(速醸系酒母)とがある。一般には安全で操作も簡単な速醸系酒母が用いられている。
酒母に、蒸米、麹、水を混合したものが「もろみ」であり、この中でアルコール発酵が行なわれる。日本酒造りの特徴のーつは、 もろみ造りで原料(蒸米、麹、水)を一度に加えずに、何度かに分けて加え酵母を増殖させながら徐々に量を増やしていくことで、これを「酘仕込み」、「段仕込み」または「段掛け法」という。一般には3回に分けて仕込む「三段仕込み」が採られているが、「二段仕込み」や「四段仕込み」で造られる場合もある。発酵後、一定の期間をおいてからもろみを搾り、清酒と酒粕とに分ける。この原酒の段階でのアルコール度数は、高いものでは20%前後になる。純米酒以外は、搾る直前に醸造アルコールが添加される。
#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #makingsake #sake


Sake Nation “Seasonal Sake ③: Freshly squeezed draft sake”

By Kosuke Kuji

This series introduces the sake representative of each season. This report introduces the winter “draft sake.” 
Hot sake is delicious during the frigid winter season. Production starts with a new crop of sake rice harvested in the fall. New sake is first squeezed fresh from November into December. 
Many sake breweries release new freshly squeezed sake from sake rice harvested that year as a winter limited edition draft sake.    
New sake is fresh in aroma and flavor, with some slightly carbonated from the gas in the mash. New sake is a winter limited edition sake commonly enjoyed in the frigid winter season from December to March.
The fresh flavor of new sake is highly compatible with white fish sashimi or oden steeped in dashi broth.   
Also, many sake breweries also release rich, freshly squeezed “unprocessed sake.” 
In Iwate prefecture where snow falls heavily, chilled unprocessed sake is enjoyed with a hot pot seated below the kotatsu (Japanese table with a heater underneath), one of the best ways to enjoy the frigid winter season.    

#alljapannews #hotsake #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake


Best ways to store and enjoy sake 

Please avoid exposure to ultraviolet light when storing sake - very harmful to the quality of sake - or direct sunlight. The quality of sake will degrade under direct sunlight within one to two hours. Also, please avoid fluorescent light when storing sake.  
Once opened, sake is best if finished off quickly. If sake cannot be finished in one sitting however, please keep the cap and spout of the bottle clean and store in a dark place. If air inside the bottle is released before storage, the opened bottle of sake should last for approximately a month. Also, long-term storage does not turn sake into aged sake, but rather, the sake flavor and aroma changes over time and sake turns into vinegar. 
Although sake is known as the best medicine, please keep the appropriate volume of consumption in mind. Drinking the same amount of water as sake, or “water served with sake,” will help ease the stomach. 




日本酒を飲んでも太らない。日本酒のカロリーは100 mlで185 kcalで太るのはお酒と一緒に食べるおつまみが原因。また、アルコール体を冷やすが、日本酒は違う。(アルコール健康医学協会)
#alljapannews #drinking #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (2023 Beaujolais Nouveau release party)

By Ryuji Takahashi

The 2023 Beaujolais Nouveau was released on November 16. I am sure many of our readers are familiar with this wine, so to explain simply, Beaujolais Nouveau is a new wine pressed in the Burgundy region of southeastern Paris, France. Due to the time difference, Japan gets to enjoy the 2023 Beaujolais Nouveau sooner than France, which made this wine popular. The release date is set to ensure the wine quality.  
The release date of Beaujolais Nouveau is set to prevent consumers who prefer to taste the wine (flavor not yet adjusted) as soon as possible from influencing the wine rating. This year, I headed over to restaurant “Takuan Botantei” in Western Nishi-Shinjuku again to attend the Beaujolais Nouveau release party. 
This year, we sampled the “Mommessin” Beaujolais Nouveau, a renowned wine brand from central Beaujolais, pressed from grapes harvested using a sustainable agricultural method and minimal pesticides by a long-established winery with over one hundred years of history. 
The fruity flavor of Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau exudes a fresh aroma, light in body with a lively fresh palate characteristic of Nouveau. With a light snack, the flavor can be enjoyed for a long time without getting tired of the flavor. By light snack, I mean Sukiyaki served at “Takuan Botantei.” On this day, guests savored the delicious umami flavor of Sukiyaki as each guest enjoyed at least one bottle each. 
As empty wine bottles lined the table, the tipsy hostess started performing her annual “kappore” dance (traditional Japanese comic dance), followed by a live flamenco performance by professional musicians and dancers. Finally, the event concluded with the song “Kiyoshiro Imawano,” accompanied by a shamisen performance by the hostess with Flamenco guitar and guests who sang along. Drunk guests sang using a spoon to substitute for a microphone. The release party ended as guests laughed out loud.     
The Beaujolais Nouveau release party ended with many guests smiling after savoring a lot of wine with entertainment. The wine transported by air from France was well served by guests who savored and cherished this product. When I was younger, I had no interest in Beaujolais Nouveau to be frank. Now that I know how fun the release party is, I wish I had started enjoying this wine sooner. As I received monaka (wafer filled with bean jam) as a souvenir and headed home, I imagined the fields of Beaujolais and enjoyed the aftertaste of this wonderful wine on my way home.  
#BeaujolaisNouveau #alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #wine


The flavor and fragrance of sake

Sake tasting typically starts by evaluating the color. Most sake products sold today are colorless. Sake brewed today is pressed, decanted, and then filtered further. Fine particles are completely removed before pasteurization and storage. Generally, activated carbon is used for filtration, which fades the color that remained when fermentation-mash was squeezed. By the way, activated carbon is used not to fade the color, but to adjust the fragrance and prevent coloring, bacterial contamination, and excessive aging.   
Sake generates color to some extent, although the color differs. Several factors that generate color in sake are mostly attributed to the ingredients – rice, koji mold, yeast, and water. Color is a natural phenomenon that does not influence the quality of sake, other than high iron content in water that produces a reddish brown color in sake. “Amber,” “golden,” or “bright yellow” sake were deemed valuable until filtration started in the Taisho Era (1912-1926). Even today, these three phrases are used during sake tasting.   
Also, at a time when sake was brewed and stored in wooden buckets, the sake color was praised along with the fragrance of wood. Therefore, despite the use of cedar buckets at the time, a piece of Yoshino cedar was commonly added to store sake.  
The use of activated carbon to filter sake started in the early Showa Era (1926-1989). However, one theory claims the reason is attributable to the production of Ginjo sake that flourished at the time. Active carbon was used to reduce the color of sake since sake competitions at the time tended to rate light colored sake highly. Since light-bodied sake tends to be favored recently, the general impression is that high-quality sake is nearly colorless.   
Therefore, other than sake stored long-term, degradation must be suspected in general sake sold with a yellowish tint, not due to the color of the sake itself. In such cases, many sake products are not stored correctly, thus exposed to sunlight, which impacts the flavor. However, this is not the case for cask sake or aged sake. If sake is stored in cedar containers like cask sake, fungi and bacteria in the cedar can elute into the sake and generate color. Also, the longer sake is stored, the darker the color generated. Therefore, sake aged for ten years is typically amber or bright yellow.  

きき酒ではまず色を見ることになっているが、実は現在市販されている日本酒の大半は、ほとんど色がついていないといっていい。現在の日本酒は、上槽・滓引きの後さらに濾過して、微細な固形物を完全に除去してから火入れ・貯蔵されるが、一般に、この濾過の際に活性炭を使用するため、もろみを搾った段階ではついていた色が脱色されてしまうからである。ちなみに、活性炭使用の目的は脱色だけではなく、香味の調整や着色の防止、 火落ち防止、過熟防止などの意義もある。 
活性炭を使って濾過するようになったのは昭和初期頃からとされるが、その理由は、当時盛んになっていた吟醸酒造りにあったという説がある。当時、品評会では色の薄い酒が高く評価される傾向があったため、活性炭によって色を抜くようになったというのである。最近はとくに淡麗な 酒質が好まれる傾向にあるから、ほとんど無色に近い酒が良質の日本酒というイメージが出来上がっているともいえよう。 
したがって、現在市販されている一般の日本酒で長期貯蔵酒以外に黄色く見えるものは、酒自体の色ではなく、変質による着色を疑ったほうがよい。多くは保管状態が悪く、日光に当たって着色してしまったものだからで、味にも影響があるはずだという。 ただし、樽酒と古酒に関しては別で、樽酒のように杉材の容器に貯蔵した場合は、杉材のテルペン類(菌類や細菌)が酒の中に溶出して薄く着色することがある。 また、日本酒は貯蔵を経るほど色を増すから、10年物ともなると、琥珀色や山吹色になっている。 
#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #saketasting


Sake Nation: “Seasonal Sake – Part 2: Autumn released draft sake ”

By Kosuke Kuji

This report introduces representative seasonal sake. In this issue, we introduce “Autumn released draft sake” enjoyed in the fall season.
Autum released draft sake is representative of the fall season, long established as a pronoun for seasonal sake within the sake industry.  
Freshly pressed sake is very flavorful today due to the development of modern day sake brewing technology. 
In the past however, freshly pressed sake was often bitter in flavor or too immature to exude sufficient flavor, thus low volumes released as new sake.  
“Autumn released draft sake” is brewed by pressing and pasteurizing sake during the previous winter season, storing until the fall season, then freshly bottling when sufficiently matured without pasteurization during the second round of bottling. Of course, this Autumn released draft sake is still a pronoun referring to seasonal fall sake to date as a very popular seasonal sake product. 
Many sake breweries start selling Autumn released draft sake during the annual Chrysanthemum Festival. Autumn released draft sake is delicious when paired with seasonal dishes such as salt-grilled mackerel pike or taro soup with meat and vegetables. Please enjoy bountiful fall seasonal foods with Autumn released draft sake.  

#alljapannews #draftsake #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake


Serving temperatures of sake 

Warming Terms and Temperatures

Around 41F: Chilly from the snow (chilly in snow weather)   

Around 50F: Chilly spring weather, refrigerate for approximately an hour.

Around 59F: Cool and refreshing

Around 68F: Room temperature 

Around 86F: Sunny Ambient Warm

Around 95F: Lukewarm

Around 104F: Low Warm

Around 113F: High Warm

Around 122F: Hot

131F or higher: Very Hot 

Chilled sake generates a refreshing flavor, while the aroma of sake is enhanced in heated sake. 

The palate detects the flavor, while the root savors the lingering aftertaste. 

The choice of sake cup can also influence the flavor. 

Sake is typically served in a choco sake cup, masu (wooden, square-shaped box), kikichoko (ceramic cup with a snake-eye pattern on the interior), guinomi (ceramic), Kiriko glass, and wine or flute glasses.   


Why sake may not pair well with some foods 

Sake may not pair well with some foods if the pairing produces an unpleasant odor, or if the aroma or flavor is too strong. 

Sake is also used as a condiment to prepare various dishes such as sake hot pots and sake steamed dishes, while sake lees is used as a marinade for fish, to pickle vegetables (Narazuke), etc. Various regional dishes throughout Japan use sake. 




10度:花冷え 冷蔵庫で1時間くらい

















#alljapannews #flavor #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake #saketemperatures


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (World Sake Day)

By Ryuji Takahashi

The Japanese celebrate World Sake Day on October 1, marked with various sake events organized nationwide. October 1 is designated as World Sake Day for several reasons. Traditionally, the sake brewing season started in October and continued until September the following year. Therefore, the sake brewing year traditionally started on October 1. 

According to the Chinese zodiac cycle, the rooster is the tenth of twelve animals. Therefore, October is designated as the “Year of the Rooster,” read as “tori” in Japanese, but originally a pictograph indicating the shape of a pot, indicative of sake. October is traditionally the time to harvest new rice, now shifting due to global warming. Therefore, this explanation will no longer be valid to explain why October 1 is designated as World Sake Day.       

Anyway, various sake events are organized throughout Japan to celebrate World Sake Day. I overheard several colleagues questioning not doing anything to celebrate World Sake Day as professionals in the sake industry and decided to help revitalize my local community by arranging the sake specialty shop I manage to collaborate with Taiwanese restaurant “Seventh Son Restaurant,” in the same commercial district, to organize a sake tasting event.    

“Seventh Son Restaurant” serves authentic Taiwanese cuisine in Fudo-dori Shotengai, a commercial district in the Hatsudai district of Shibuya ward, Tokyo; celebrating thirty years in business. Mr. Lin, the owner, is a former soldier of the Taiwanese Army turned chef. His restaurant is featured in various TV segments, such as the entertainment show “Lunch ON!” on NHK World that introduces lunches enjoyed by Japanese businessmen and workers nationwide. 





#NHK #WorldSakeDay #alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


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