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.  

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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

















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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. 





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Sake consumed during festivals 

Sake brewing plants equipped to brew sake year-round are referred to as “all-season (sake) brewing facilities,” or 

“all-season (sake) breweries.” Also, brewing sake year-round is also referred to as all-season (sake) brewing. Currently, all major sake producers brew sake in facilities equipped to brew sake year-round.

Currently, competition to consume large volumes of sake is rarely held due to social changes and health concerns. However, ancient Japanese records show “sake competitions” held in the past. One such record is a competition held between eight court nobles in the Imperial Court in 911 AD. Korehira Fujiwara was awarded a horse by Emperor Uda for showing no sign of intoxication after consuming eight rounds of sake served in large sake cups.     

More recently, the most famous example is a sake competition held at the Taishi-kawara riverbed in the Kawasaki ward of Kawasaki city, Kanagawa prefecture? between warriors divided into eastern and western teams on August 10, 1648. The competition was held between seventeen warriors in the eastern team against fourteen warriors in the western team. After a fierce drinking competition that lasted hours, the eastern team won.   

On the other hand, the most famous drinking competition between individuals was held in Senju, the suburbs of Edo city, on October 21, 1815, as documented in “Suicho Chronicles” by Shokusanjin Ohta, who acted as the judge. Large sake cups made available for this competition were the Itsukushima cup (1,000 ml = 1 liter), Kamakura cup (1,400 ml = 1.4 liters), Ejima cup (2,000 ml = 2 liters), Manju-muryo cup (3,000 ml = 3 liters), Ryokumouki cup (5,000 ml = 1.3 gallons), and the Tanchozuru cup (6,000 ml = 1.5 gallons), from which the competitors chose freely.

Three geisha entertainers poured sake into large sake cups held by competitors. Every cup of sake finished by each competitor was witnessed by an inspector and documented by the scorekeeper. The winner was a man named Sahei from Yashukoyama, who finished off sake in a Ryokumouki cup (15,000 ml = 3.9 gallons). 

The grand winner of documented sake drinking competitions was Rihei Koiya, who consumed 35,200 ml (9.2 gallons) of sake at a restaurant in Ryougoku-yanagibashi on March 23, 1817. A more recently renowned sake competition is the “Kumagaya sake competition” held in Kumagaya city, Saitama prefecture in the spring of 1927. An entrance fee of 2.50 JPY allowed anyone to participate. The winner of this drinking competition hailed from Kumagaya city and consumed 21,600 ml (5.7 gallons).   

In addition to drinking competitions over volumes of sake consumed, the Imperial Court also hosted drinking competitions over how fast rounds of sake were consumed ritualistically. One drinking competition was documented as “10 rounds of sake” in the “Chikanaga Chronicles” during the Muromachi period (1336-1573). Twenty competitors were divided into left and right teams of 10 competitors each, with each side competing to finish 5 cups of sake the fastest. 


年間を通じて酒造りをできるように設備された酒造工場のことを、「四季醸造」または「四季醸造蔵」(略して「四季蔵」とも)という。また、四季を通じて酒の醸造を行なうことも、同じく四季醸造という。現在、大手酒 造メーカーはすべて、この設備を擁する工場で生産を行なっている。





このような大酒飲み競技での最高記録は、文化14年3月23日に両国柳橋の料亭で行なわれた酒合戦で優勝した鯉屋利兵衛の1斗9升5合とされる。 近代に入ってからの酒合戦で有名なのは、昭和2年春に埼玉県熊谷市で催された「熊谷の酒合戦」で、2円50銭の会費さえ払えば誰でも参加できた。この時の優勝者は熊谷の人で、記録は1斗2升であった。 

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