Sake Nation “First Sake Sampling Event Overseas in a Long Time - Part II: Hawaii”

By Kosuke Kuji

The previous report described the joy of resuming business trips since the end of the coronavirus pandemic. 

This issue reports on the sampling event, “The 23rd Annual Food Show,” held at the Prince Waikiki in Honolulu, Hawaii; attended by The Cherry Co., Ltd., distributor of sake Nanbu Bijin, various local sake, and Japanese food products. 

This sampling event was held for the first time in four years since the coronavirus pandemic. I attended this event to visit our clients in Hawaii. 

“It’s been a while!” I exclaimed, overjoyed to greet the brewery of Sake brewer based in North America, breweries from Japan, and vendors of Japanese food.

The food show was a major success, attended early in the morning by many affiliates of restaurants and wine shops.

The officially announced number of guests was approximately 700, mostly local Hawaiian guests. Approximately twenty percent of the guests were Japanese, which is few, but also an indication of how deeply Japanese cuisine is rooted in Hawaii. 

A sample of the Nanbu Bijin 10 Years Aged Daiginjo Sake was exhibited at this sampling event. I was surprised to see orders placed for this sake priced at $1,500 USD in restaurants. 

The Hawaiian guests were all healthy, and Japanese restaurants were excitedly planning to open more locations at this exciting event. 

酒豪大陸「久しぶりの海外での試飲会 その2 ハワイ」 








#flavor #hawaii #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake


Sake Consumption during the Showa Period (1926-1989)

When the Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, food shortages started and sake rice was restricted, which reduced the volume of sake produced year-by-year. 

As sake became less available, “Kingyo-zake” (sake diluted with water) appeared on the market. To crack down on diluted sake, the Japanese government enacted standards for sake according to alcohol content in1940. A grade system of Special Grade and First Grade were enacted for sake from 1940 to 1943. As the war raged on, sake breweries were reorganized and consolidated by 1943, reducing the number of sake breweries from approximately 8,000 to 4,000 breweries. Although the sake rationing system was abolished after the war, the grade system to assess sake as Special grade, First grade and Second grade remained.      

Sake production volume in Japan dropped to 39,080,000 U.S. gallons by 1945, and to 23,830,000 U.S. gallons by 1947. The lack of sake prompted sake production in secrecy. As a measure to compensate for the lack of sake at this time, a sake product was developed by adding distilled alcohol to brewed sake.  

Taverns serving whiskey started operating by 1955, prompting the rapid growth of Western alcohol such as whiskey, wine, beer, etc., which slowed the growth of sake consumption that expanded rapidly after the war. 






#alljapannews #beef #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake #shochu


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Evening of Italian Cuisine Paired with Japanese sake)

By Ryuji Takahashi

Just when humidity was first detected in the air in Tokyo, Italian restaurant “Karibe-tei” in Shimokitazawa district (introduced in a previous issue) hosted the event, “Third Evening of Italian Cuisine Paired with Japanese Sake.”    

The theme of the cuisine for this event was “early summer,” consisting of: ① Mozzarella Burrata and Prosciutto, ② Sicilian-style Eggplant Caponata, ③ Kirishima Chicken and Celery Wrapped and Deep-fried in Pate Brick, ④ Yellowtail Grilled Tapenade Sauce from Kagoshima Prefecture, ⑤ Dried Mullet Roe and Pistachio Pasta from Sardegna, ⑥ Beef Skirt and Bavette Steak, ⑦ Duck and Foie Gras Risotto, and ⑧ Vanilla Ice Cream with Strawberry Grappa Flambé. 

Japanese sake served during this event were selected for their refreshing flavors suitable for the rainy season from late spring through summer as follows: ① “Shukufuku Yellow-label,” a new series of sparkling sake released by Sasaiwai Brewery that took two years of trial-and-error to produce, including the sample sake product. Opening the seal released fine foams that raised the sediments sunken to the bottom of the bottle of this beautiful, milky-white, cloudy sparkling sake. Guests toasted with Shukufuku sparkling sake to kick-off the event, followed by ② “Takizawa Junmai-Ginjo Draft” and ③ “Hiya-live Storage Sake” by Shinsyu Meijyo Brewery, ④ “Sanzui Junmai Daiginjo Unfiltered Unprocessed Sake” and ⑤ “Hakuro Junmai Daiginjo” by Hakuro Shuzo, ⑥ “Nagatoro Junmai Unfiltered Unprocessed Sake” by Fujisaki Sobei Shoten, and ⑦ “Kamakiri-shouzu Junmai” by Kanemasu Brewery, a total of seven different categories of sake in fifteen 720 ml bottles, all from Fujisake Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery 

This event was attended by fifteen guests, with each guest calculated to enjoy one 720 ml bottle of sake. The real thrill of this event was to ensure each guest was stuffed with delicious cuisine and enjoyed a nice buzz on their way home. The guests varied in age from their twenties into their sixties, all fans of Italian cuisine and sake, who hyped up the event. It’s surprising every time this event is held how each tipsy guest never gets into any trouble on their way home. We’re truly blessed. This event, organized without any regard to profit or loss, is so popular among guests that the guests beg organizers to raise their participation fee to ensure the event will continue well into the future.  

From the operation side, removing any concern for profit rate and financial state, etc., allows chefs and service providers to prioritize seeing the smiles of satisfied customers as their top priority. Hearing genuine feedback from customers who love to eat and drink sake helps professionals capitalize on the motivational benefit of getting back to the basics. Not to sound too altruistic, but there aren’t sufficient resources to hold this event multiple times a year. Although it’s not yet known when the next event will be organized, we hope fans of Italian cuisine and Japanese sake will look forward to it.   


 東京が湿気を空気に感じ始めた頃、以前も紹介した下北沢に有るイタリア料理店「かりべ亭」にて第三回イタリアンと日本酒の夕べというイベントが行われた。今回は「初夏」をキーワードに料理は、①モツァレラブラータと生ハム、②シチリア風茄子のカポナータ、③霧島地鶏とセロリのパートブリック包み揚げ、④鹿児島県産活みやび勘八のグリルタプナードソース、⑤サルディーニャ産からすみとピスタチオのスパゲティ、⑥牛ハラミのバベットステーキ、⑦鴨とフォアグラのリゾット、⑧苺のグラッパフランベをかけたバニラアイスクリームの全八品。日本酒は、①笹祝酒造が試作品も含めて2年間、数多のトライ&エラーを繰り返しながらようやくたどり着いたスパークリング日本酒の新シリーズ「祝吹・イエローラベル多酸」。抜栓をすることで瓶底に沈んだオリがきめ細かな泡によって持ちあがり、見た目的にも乳白色が美しい泡酒である。この祝吹を乾杯酒として、②③長野信州銘醸「瀧澤 純米吟醸生酒」「ひや 生貯蔵原酒」、④⑤新潟柏露酒造「さんずい 純米大吟醸無濾過生原酒」「柏露 純米大吟醸生囲い」、⑥埼玉藤崎宗兵衛商店「長瀞 純米直汲み無濾過生原酒」、⑦新潟金升酒造「カマキリショウズ 呑み切り純米」、の全七種類720ml瓶で15本、全て梅雨から夏にさっぱり飲める酒を用意した。参加人数は15名なので一人4合瓶1本が飲める計算で、お腹いっぱいになってもらい、しっかり酔っぱらって帰ってもらうのがこのイベントの醍醐味である。参加者の年齢層も幅広く20代から60代までのイタリアン好きで酒好きな人達が集まり大いに盛り上がった。毎回、泥酔者でトラブルが起こらないのが不思議なくらい参加者に恵まれている会だと思う。利益度外視のこの会は参加者から心配になるから参加費を上げてくれと頼まれるくらい高評価を得ている。運営側としては日々頭の中でモヤモヤしている利益率や経営状態などを頭の中から外すことにより、お客様の満足した笑顔で料理人やサービスマンとしての初心に戻り、食べるのが好きで酒飲むのが好きな人達の本音を聞くことにより、自分たちをもう一度原点に戻し見直すという大きい心の利益を獲得しているのである。などとカッコ良い事を言っているが、当然年に何度も出来る程余裕があるわけではない。次回はいつになるか解らないが、イタリアンと日本酒好きには是非期待していて欲しい。
#alljapannews #italianfood #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Japanese Sake Enhances the Flavors of Various Cuisines

Junmai sake is sake produced from fermentation-mash - prepared from rice, malted rice and water – fermented, then squeezed. No other ingredient is used other than water, added afterwards to adjust the alcohol content. Needless to say, Junmai sake is truly pure rice wine, the fundamental form of all Japanese sake.    

Sake is also used as a condiment in Japanese cuisine, mainly to neutralize the smell of food ingredients and add umami flavor to enhance flavor, tenderize food ingredients, etc. Sake is essential in preparing seafood and meat dishes for this reason. In addition, sake is used in dishes dressed with sauces, pickled dishes, and dishes not heated after sake is added. To prepare dishes that simply use the flavor of sake without adding any alcohol from sake, simply heat sake in a pot to evaporate the alcohol content before use. This is called “nikiri-sake” (“boiled (evaporated) sake”). 

Next, let’s review representative examples of cooking methods using sake as the main condiment. 

Saka-iri (reduced down with sake): Cooking method using the flavor of sake to neutralize the gamey smell and odd flavors from seafood and meat, etc. Pour a small amount of sake into a pot with the food ingredients and simmer until the excess liquid is gone.    

Saka-shio (sake seasoned with salt): Sake flavor seasoned with a small quantity of salt. A cooking method used to marinate food ingredients in sake with salt. Otherwise, the mixture is brushed onto grilled dishes to adjust the flavor to a refined finish. 

Saka-ni (simmered in sake with salt): To simmer food ingredients in a large volume of sake, seasoned only with salt. A cooking method that maximizes the flavor of sake. Any soy sauce used is added in very minimal quantities.  

Saka-happou: Sake added to dashi (soup broth), mainly to give food ingredients with peculiar flavors a mild-flavored finish. A type of happou-dashi (a combination of mixed seasonings, often combining dashi (soup broth) with mirin (sweet rice wine) and soy sauce).    

By the way, “mirin” (sweet rice wine) was first produced from the end of the Muromachi period (1336-1392) into the Edo period (1603-1867), initially enjoyed as sweet sake. Towards the end of the Edo period however, mirin started to be used mainly as a condiment. Today, mirin is cherished as an essential condiment to Japanese cuisine, used more frequently than sake. The main components of mirin are divided broadly into sugar, alcohol, amino acids, organic acids, and aroma components. This complex composition of mirin ingredients is known to generate various culinary effects.    

These culinary effects are: ① Adds a refined sweet flavor to dishes, ② Enhances umami flavors, ③ Adds a glaze, ④ Adds a suitable grilled/broiled color, ⑤ Adds an enticing aroma, ⑥ Adds a savory and smooth flavor, ⑦ Enhances the penetration of flavors, ⑧ Prevents foods from falling apart, ⑨ Neutralizes the smells of food, etc.  



また、日本酒は日本料理では調味料としても用いられる。その主な効果は、材料の臭みを消す、旨みを加えて風味をよくする、材料を柔らかくする、などである。そのため、とくに魚介類や肉類の調理には欠かせない調味料のーつとされている。また、和えものや酢のものなど、酒を加えた後は加 熱しない料理など、アルコールは邪魔だが酒の風味だけを生かす場合には、酒を鍋などに入れて火にかけ、アルコール分を飛ばしてから用いる。これを「煮切り酒」という。 


・酒煎り 魚介類や鳥肉などの生臭みやくせを除き、酒の風味を移すための調理法。鍋に材料と酒少量を入れて、汁気がなくなる程度に煎りつける。 

・酒塩 少量の塩で味をととのえた酒。下処理として材料を漬け込んだり、 焼きものの仕上げに塗ると、味がととのい上品な仕上がりになる。 

・酒煮(酒塩煮) たっぷりの酒を使って煮ること。味つけは塩だけで、 酒の風味を最大限に生かす調理法。醤油を使う場合は、ごく少量に控える。

・酒八方(酒塩八方) だしに酒を加えたもので、主としてくせのある材料をあっさりと炊く場合に用いる八方だしの一種。  

ところで、「みりん」は室町時代末期から江戸時代にかけて造られ始め、 当初は甘口の酒として飲用されていたが、江戸時代後半頃から主として調味料として用いられるようになった。今日では日本酒以上に、日本料理に欠かせない調味料として重宝されている。 みりんの主な成分は、糖分、アルコール分、アミノ酸、有機酸、香り成分に大別されるが、これらの複雑な成分組成が、みりんのさまざまな調理効果を生むことが分かっている。その効果は、①料理に上品な甘みをつける、②旨みを増強する、③照りつやを出す、④適度な焼き色をつける、⑤ 好ましい香りをつける、⑥味をまろやかにする、⑦味の浸透性をよくする、 ⑧材料の煮くずれを防止する、⑨材料の生臭みを消す、などである。 
#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #junmai #sake


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