Japanese sake type – Classified into four types according to the concentration of flavor and aroma.


Dry/sweetness indicates the degree of sweetness while smooth/refreshing and rich/full flavor indicates the degree of richness.
The stronger the rice flavor, the more easily the rich sake flavor is detected, applicable to low-polished sake high in mineral content such as Junmai, Kimoto, and unfiltered sake with distinct, full flavors.
The characteristics of the flavors, suitable consumption method and temperatures are different by sake type.
This report introduces Pure Sake and Mellow Sake.

Pure Sake
Pure sake is rich in flavor with a lasting palate, appealing for it’s full-bodied and umami flavor. Most notable among Junmai sake for its umami flavor from rice, pure sake is most commonly produced using the Kimoto method and prepared from Yamahai yeast.
Well-rounded with a subdued scent, pure sake flavor consists of umami flavors from rice and minerals, common in Japanese sake. The main aroma is rice, the main sake type is Junmai sake, etc., with a temperature range between 59 degF to 64.4 degF. The temperature range to serve pure sake hot is between 104 degF to 131 degF.

Mellow Sake
Sake highly aromatic, deeply flavorful, golden-hued and aged. Mellow Sake is old sake, expensive and rare like aged sake and noble brewed sake. Mellow, ripened aroma with umami flavor evenly balanced between sweet, acidic, and bitter flavors; a highly satisfying sake.
The Mellow Sake aroma consists mainly of dried fruits and spices. The main type of sake is aged sake, noble brewed sake, and old sake, most aromatic at the temperature range between 77 degF to 86 degF.





#dry #flavor #junmai #kimoto #rich #sake


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (State of Emergency)


By Ryuji Takahashi

As the coronavirus vaccination started in Japan, the light at the end of the tunnel signals an end to the coronavirus pandemic despite more people getting infected. Japan declared the third state of emergency for Tokyo, requested large facilities to suspend operations, and restaurants to stop serving alcohol and close after 08:00 PM. Telework became mainstream with less reasons for residents to venture outdoors. Compared to the initial state of emergency however, more people still crowd business districts and areas near train stations where young people gather. Since alcohol cannot be served in restaurants, young people drink alcohol purchased in convenience stores in the streets.
Assistance funds from Tokyo as compensation to businesses for cutting hours were delayed numerous times, leaving restaurants falling behind on rent and employee wages. Left with no choice but to ignore the suspension request, restaurants resumed serving alcohol and business operations late into the night. Due to this unprecedented development, restaurant owners unable to discern the right course of action had no time to wait for decisions by the city or government, gambling their survival at their own discretion. Under such trying times, it is often said “Japanese sake is increasing in demand, purchased by the general public drinking at home.” To be honest, the demand hasn’t changed. The state of emergency declared last April and May increased online drinking parties and TV programs featuring how to enjoy drinks at home.
However, sake selections are few. The frequency of purchases by regular customers slightly increased, while no new customers are coming in. Sake shops are struggling since no restaurants are placing orders. Sake breweries face the same predicament as more breweries are suspending or closing their businesses. To break through this crisis, Kanemasu Brewery of Niigata prefecture introduced a new seasonal sake product “Kamakiri-shouzu Junmai” to reaffirm the four seasons of Japan and warm the hearts of consumers. “Nomikiri” means to inspect the aging and flavor of sake produced by a brewery for bacteria, etc., that could cause the flavor to deteriorate.
Some breweries occasionally invite experts from the brewery inspection agency and regular clients to their Nomikiri, a term that originated from the act of cutting off the seal at the bottom of the brewery’s storage tank to release the sake. “Nijyuu-sisekki” (“Twenty-four Seasons”) refers to one year divided into four seasons (spring, summer, winter and fall), further divided into six micro-seasons. Because the timing overlapped with “Boushu” (June 6) at “Kamakiri-shouzu” (approximately June 5~20), the product was named “Kamakiri-shouzu Junmai.”
A gentle Ginjo aroma with a smooth palate, slightly high in alcohol content not detectable in its smooth texture. The risk of coronavirus infection must soon be eliminated for restaurants to be able to serve alcohol openly, or this seasonal sake will not be available for long, one more reason to pray the coronavirus pandemic will end very soon.

しかし、現在は酒類が悪者扱いである。常連様の買い物回数が少し増えただけで、新規の来店数は殆ど増えていない。しかも飲食店からの注文はゼロなので酒販店としては厳しい状況である。それは酒蔵も同じで、廃業・休造の酒蔵が増えている中、何とかこの状況を打開しようと、この殺伐とした中、日本の季節を再確認させてくれて、心豊かになる季節商品が発売された。それは新潟県の金升酒造の「蟷螂生(かまきりしょうず)呑み切り純米」である。呑み切りとは、酒蔵で貯蔵した酒の熟成や味わいを利き酒で把握し、劣化の原因となる菌などが発生していないか検査を行う事である。酒蔵によっては蔵内の人間だけでなく、指導機関の先生を招いたり、得意先を呼んで行う事が有る。酒蔵貯蔵タンクの下に有る栓の「呑み」を切って酒を出すことから名前が来ており、二十四節季「芒種(ぼうしゅ)」の初候七十二候の「蟷螂生(かまきりしょうず)」と時期が重なることから、「蟷螂生 呑み切り純米」としたそうだ。穏やかな吟醸香があり、角が取れまろやかで、アルコール度数が少し高めだが、それを感じさせない滑らかな味わいとなっている。コロナウイルスの脅威が去り、飲食店が酒類を堂々と提供できる時が早く来なければ本当に飲めなくなる季節酒なので、このコロナ過が早く収まることを願うばかりである。
#covid19 #daiginjo #emergency #jizake #junmai #nigori #sake #tokyo


Unifying Sake Labels


By Yuji Matsumoto

Consumers’ purchase motivations
• I like sake A because it’s rich-bodied and has good acidity and pairs well with meat dishes, but I couldn’t find it in a supermarket. How can I find something similar to it?
• Which sake will be good as a birthday present for my girlfriend(boyfriend), who usually prefers red wines with higher tannin levels?
• I usually enjoy drinking B, but today is a special occasion and I want something similar but more expensive. How do I choose one?
• What’s good as hot sake?

Generally speaking, these are the sorts of questions normal consumers have.

It’s impossible to provide answers to all such questions and display sake accordingly, but it is possible to categorize them by the aroma, body, and food parings. Below chart is what I would use as an attempt to categorize most of the sake, based on my innumerous tastings in the past.
First, have the breweries categorize all their sake being exported to U.S. into “zones.” If they think their sake is refreshing with an aroma of a cantaloupe, it should be in the “summer zone.” The categorizations should be displayed on labels in an industry-wide standardized format. Restaurants and retailers can then post posters or hang messages on the neck of the bottles, to explain the zoning map. The breweries can have their own logos in the middle of the labels as they wish. I sincerely hope that sake bottle labels can be standardized as such.


• Aという濃醇なボディーで酸味香のある肉料理に合う日本酒が好きだが、スーパーに行ったらこの銘柄が無かった。Aという銘柄に近いものを探すのにはどうするか。

• 今回は、彼(彼女)の誕生日なので、普段タンニンの効いた赤ワイン好きな彼(彼女)が気に入る日本酒はどれだろうか。

• 普段はBという銘柄を好んで飲んでいるが、今日は特別な日なので値段が高い同じ傾向の日本酒がほしいがどうやって選ぶか。

• 熱燗に適した日本酒はどれ?

#label #paring #sake


Sake Nation “Alcohol service banned under the State of Emergency in Japan”


By Kosuke Kuji

Japan during the “Golden Week” (April 29 ~ May 5) declared their third state of emergency.
The justification was to stop crowds from gathering as much as possible, which is understandable.
Healthcare facilities face staff shortages in Osaka and Hyogo prefectures, while the number of people infected by the coronavirus in Tokyo continues to rise.
However, the most shocking stipulation from the state of emergency was the ban of alcohol service in restaurants.
Serving alcohol does not spread the coronavirus, and clusters at restaurants are low compared to nursing homes and businesses, yet restaurants were banned from serving alcohol despite no evidence to support the ban.
We sake breweries were shocked by this ban.
Needless to say, in addition to Japanese sake, shochu, whiskey, beer, wine, and all other alcoholic beverages cannot be served in restaurants.
Is there any other country in the world banning alcohol service as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus?
Crowds still gather despite the Japanese government extending the short-term state of emergency. Therefore, rather than declare a short-term state of emergency, the best approach would be to limit indoor seating to 30% capacity, raise to 50% once the infection slows down, drop down to 30% capacity again if the coronavirus spreads, and request businesses to suspend operations once the risk gets too high in my opinion.
However, compensation to businesses in Japan for suspending operations is low compared to that of other nations. Since the suspension is “requested” rather than ordered, the “reward” is low, contributing to the problem.
I want to ask the world, “Is alcohol to be blamed?” “Does alcohol service spread the coronavirus?”



#Breweries #Hakkaisan #Sake #coronavirus #emergency #goldenweek


Japanese sake type – Classified into four types according to the concentration of flavor and aroma.


Dry/sweetness indicates the degree of sweetness while smooth/refreshing and rich/full flavor indicates the degree of richness.
The stronger the rice flavor, the more easily the rich sake flavor is detected, applicable to low-polished sake high in mineral content such as Junmai, Kimoto, and unfiltered sake with distinct, full flavors.
The characteristics of the flavors, suitable consumption method and temperatures are different by sake type.
This report introduces Aromatic Sake and Refreshing Sake.

Aromatic Sake
Sake with highly aromatic fragrance like fruits and flowers such as Junmai and Daiginjo.
Light to the palate, refreshing, and smooth sake with a fruity, wine-like flavor, popular overseas. The aroma is similar to fruits or herbs.
Applicable mainly to Junmai-Daiginjo and Daiginjo, most fragrant at the temperature range of approx. 41 degF.

Refreshing Sake
Lightest to the palate and highly refreshing, most common among Japanese sake. Applicable to a wide range of sake from Ginjo to non-premium sake, casually enjoyed year-round. The aroma is similar to lemon and lime.
Applicable mainly to unpasteurized sake and sake with low alcohol content, most fragrant at the temperature range of approx. 41 degF ~ 50 degF.





#dry #flavor #junmai #kimoto #rich #sake


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Sasaiwai Challenge)

By Ryuji Takahashi

Sasaiwai Sake Brewery is a locally cherished sake brewery in Niigata prefecture always taking on new challenges, boasting over 100 years of history since its foundation in 1899. This brewery is known for its “challenge brew” involving farmers, sake retail shops, and consumers to express new sake flavors from Niigata prefecture not limited to smooth and dry. Marketing strategies for cloudy sake, sake produced by kimoto method (rare in kimoto Niigata prefecture), and other innovative challenges are taken on vigorously. This fifth product was recently released.
The product name is “Sasaiwai Challenge Niten-Gonomaki.” For this challenge, two types of sake – Honjozo and Junmai – using the same sake rice and rice-polishing ratio were released at the same time. The label is illustrated with a pair of sweet pandas, reminiscent of Nio Guardians and guardian dogs. As many consumers reference the label to discern Junmai from sake with distilled alcohol added, the label seems to be asking, “Do you really dislike the flavor of Honjozo (Junmai)? Do you dislike the flavor without even sampling it? Why not sample and compare both to decide what flavor you like for yourself?
The controversy surrounding the essence of recent Japanese sake seems to evoke cult-like angry passion among some, liberal information cited by strangers, and vague opinions with some labels worded condescendingly by sake producers, etc. However, I felt this sake label with two adorable pandas show the Sasaguchi Brewery owner’s passion for the Japanese sake industry. I believe the brewery owner is suggesting customers sample sake they don’t normally drink and compare the flavor to sake they enjoy drinking and savor the difference with a smile. The sake leaflet shows the two adorable pandas, Honjozo is traditional for both sake. Those who don’t understand maybe a bit close-minded.
On the other hand, one argument reads Junmai is more popular, the same relationship between guardian dogs and Nio Guardians. This means read between the lines and understand mentally without an explanation. It’s not about distilled alcohol added sake, Junmai, or anything else explained in colorful words, but the essence of sake understood by the heart without any explanation.
It’s natural to have preferences for luxury sake brands. However, it’s such a waste to select sake simply because its junmai, Honjozo, or specifically designated sake. Also, it’s fun to take on the new challenge of discovering different flavors according to the region, sake brewery, or through this Sasaiwai Challenge. The Sasaiwai Sake Brewery’s panda, sure to continue evolving, will no doubt continue to captivate our attention.


 明治32年創業、新潟県で地元に愛される地酒中の地酒を造る笹祝酒造は100年以上の歴史を大事にしつつ、新たなチャレンジを常に行っている。笹祝酒造のチャレンジで有名なのは「challenge brew」
と題した酒造り。農家や酒販店や消費者を巻き込み淡麗辛口だけではない新潟の新たな酒を表現し続けている。にごり酒のマーケット戦略、新潟県では珍しい生酛(きもと)造りなど、革新的なチャレンジを精力的に行っている。その第五弾が先日発売された。「笹祝challenge brew 伍ノ巻」である。今回は、なんと同じ酒米・同じ精米歩合の本醸造と純米の2種類同時発売である。ラベルには、ほぼ同じ可愛いパンダのイラストが阿吽の一対になっており、仁王像や狛犬を連想させる。純米かアルコール添加かをラベル情報で判断して飲み分けている人が多い中、「本当に本醸造(純米)の味は嫌いですか?飲まず嫌いではないですか?2本飲み比べてもう一度判断しませんか。」というメッセージが込められている感じがする。昨今の日本酒の本質を巡る論争には、オカルティックな怒りとかリベラル的な他人の情報を間借りした答えの無いよく解らない意見や、メーカー側が飲み手を馬鹿にしたようなラベルが有ったりするのだが、私はこの可愛いパンダの2つのラベルに笹口蔵元の日本酒の世界に対する愛情を深く感じた。普段手を出さない酒と好きな酒を飲み比べ、その良さを笑顔で再認識出来る最善の策を蔵元は打ち出したと思っている。酒の案内書には、2頭のパンダが、互いの酒に対して、本醸造は伝統的だ。理解できない人は頭が固い。いややっぱり人気は純米だと議論をしていると書いてあった。しかしこのパンダ達は阿吽の関係である。狛犬や仁王像と同じ阿吽の関係にある。この阿吽、阿吽の呼吸などと使われる言葉だが、この意味の中には、心で感じるとか暗黙の理解といった意味が有る。アル添酒がどうとか、純米酒がどうかは、言葉で色々と語り合うものでは無い。この酒の本質である心の伝達や暗黙の理解であると思う。このパンダ達も、それを言葉で発しているわけではないのである。嗜好品の酒には好き嫌いが有って当然なのである。しかし、純米だからとか本醸造だからと特定名称で酒を選ぶのも勿体ないし、地方や酒蔵で味は全く違うのを知る事や、今回の笹祝酒造のチャレンジ酒の様に、新たな発見が出来る酒を飲み手側もチャレンジしてみるのも面白いと思う。今後も変化を続けるであろう笹祝酒造のパンダに今後も目が離せない。

#covid19 #daiginjo #jizake #junmai #nigori #sake #tokyo


Sake Nation “NON GMO Certification: Part 3”

By Kosuke Kuji

This report is a continuation from the last report, the last report on NON GMO certification.
Currently, many non-Japanese consumers worldwide enjoy Japanese sake and cuisine because they like Japan, know friends and family associated with Japan, have a working relationship with Japan, or for various other reasons.
These consumers enjoy sake during meals like wine. Of course, some consumers enjoy sake for its health benefits or simply for its delicious flavor.
However, consumers with such preference are very few according to non-Japanese nationals worldwide. Thinking of ways to entice other non-Japanese consumers to try Japanese sake and cuisine will be crucial to ensure the future of Japanese sake.
Overcoming the language, religious, racial, and dietary barriers (taboos) is crucial for Japanese sake to become a true internationally consumed alcoholic beverage.
One way for sake to become a true internationally consumed alcoholic beverage is to attain Kosher, vegan, and NON GMO certification.
“Safety, Security, and Purity.” Qualities expected for food products by Japanese nationals are ’visualized’ for all consumers by attaining this international certification.
Reliability is earned by attaining thorough certification from third parties. This certification could also be the first step to lower the threshold to introduce the appeal of Japanese sake flavors to consumers with low interest in Japanese sake.
Of course, there are various other strategies as well. However, I believe it’s important for Japanese sake to be consumed overseas to visualize the appeal of Japanese sake.

酒豪大陸「NON GMO認定 その3」

前回からの続きになります。今回でNON GMOのお話は最後となります。
そのための方法の1つがコーシャやヴィーガン、そしてNON GMOなのだと思います。

#Breweries #Dassai #Hakkaisan #Kosher #NONGMO #Sake #kanpai


Japanese Sake Type Differ According to the Combination of Flavor and Aroma

In addition, Japanese sake type also differs by aroma and preparation method. The Sake Service Institute focused on the sake flavor and aroma to classify sake into four different types.
Sake type is classified by plotting the sake flavor onto the horizontal axis and sake aroma onto the vertical axis. Sake with concentrated flavor and aroma is designated as Mellow Sake, while sake with concentrated flavor but light aroma is Pure Sake, sake with subtle flavor but pungent aroma is Aromatic Sake, and sake with subtle flavor and light aroma is designated as Refreshing Sake.
Compatible cuisines and temperature are indicated for each sake type as reference to select your sake type for sampling.
Refreshing sake with no odd flavor is referred to as clean sake flavor. The lower the rice-polishing ratio, the cleaner the sake flavor. To the contrary, the higher the rice-polishing ratio, the more concentrated the umami flavor in the sake. Generally, aromatic sake is best served chilled, while rich sake is best served hot. Raising the temperature increases the umami and sweet flavors, mellowing the acidity of sake.
Heating both Mellow and Pure Sake produces more full-bodied flavors.
Rich sake refers to Japanese sake light and refreshing in flavor, while sweet Japanese sake is heavy and strong in flavor.



#aroma #flavor #sakagura #sake


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Yoshinoya’s Original Sake)

By Ryuji Takahashi

Any Japanese national is familiar with the beef bowl chain, Yoshinoya Co., Ltd. Founded in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district in 1899, Yoshinoya since relocated to the Tsukiji Market (currently closed since the market relocated to the Toyosu area). The restaurant chain was named after its founder Eikochi Matsuda from Yoshino town, Noda village, Nishinari district, Osaka prefecture (currently Yoshino town, Fukushima ward, Osaka prefecture). Renowned for low prices and speedy service competitive against other fast food restaurants, Yoshinoya is a popular restaurant chain representative of the economical and speedy fast food sector of today’s food service industry. A global restaurant chain, Yoshinoya serves its signature beef bowls in China, Malaysia, Singapore, U.S., etc.
Depending on the time of day and restaurant location, Yoshinoya serves sake like an izakaya restaurant, popular as a casual place to enjoy sake economically among young customers and businessmen. The beef bowl chain serves Honjozo sake from Hakuro Brewery in Nagaoka city, Niigata prefecture for over twenty-five years. Sake brewing rice “Gohyakumangoku” from Niigata prefecture is used to prepare koji rice, developed as nama-chozo (sake pasteurized only once), capitalizing on the flavor of draft sake to produce “Yoshinoya’s Honjozo Nama-Chozo.” Yoshinoya’s original sake is characteristic for its koji aroma, original umami flavor from rice, refreshing with a light palate, versatile sake compatible with beef and suitable for pairing with any menu selection.

Here is how sake connoisseurs can savor sake with beef bowl as recommended by a sake brewer:
① First, take a small sip of cold sake. The right level of acidity stimulates the appetite.

② Take a bite of beef
Savor the concentrated beef flavor, and then continue onto the next glass of sake. Repeat several times.

③ Sprinkle sliced red ginger pieces on the beef. Sliced ginger adds saltiness and acidity to the beef abundant in sweet and umami flavors.
Season with Hachimi Japanese peppers (Japanese chili pepper blended of eight spices) as needed.

④ Savor some beef, then chase with cold sake. Enjoy all five senses of the slightly bitter sake flavor left on the palate (sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness, and savory flavors).
Pickled vegetables and kimchi are recommended in between.

“Yoshinoya’s Honjozo Nama-Chozo” will be released this spring. Since dining out is discouraged in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Yoshinoya’s long-standing takeout service with short waiting time offers a competitive advantage. Some areas offer delivery services without the need to pick-up the food yourself, a service welcomed by female customers who may feel hesitant to enter a restaurant alone. Why not take advantage of this opportunity to order takeout, enjoy sake, and rediscover the delicious flavors of Yoshinoya beef bowls with sake?

 日本人なら誰でも知っている牛丼屋と言えば吉野家だろう。吉野家は、1899年(明治32年)に東京・日本橋で創業し、その後築地に移転(現在は市場の豊洲移転により閉店)。創業者・松田栄吉が大阪府西成郡野田村字吉野(現在の大阪市福島区吉野)の出身だったことから屋号が吉野家になったとのこと。低価格と他のファストフード店と比べても一線を画す提供スピードが話題になり、低価格路線の外食産業における代表的なチェーン店のひとつとして今も人気である。そして現在では、海外にも出店しており、中国やマレーシア、シンガポールやアメリカ等でも吉野家の牛丼を食べることが出来る。吉野家では店舗と時間によるが、居酒屋感覚で酒を飲むことが出来る。【吉呑み】などと言われ、気軽に安く飲めることもあり、若者やサラリーマンの間で人気である。そして吉野家で25年以上使われている日本酒が新潟県長岡市の柏露(はくろ)酒造の本醸造酒である。麹米には新潟県生まれの酒造好適米「五百万石」を使用し、ファストフードという業態を加味し、生酒の風味を生かせる生貯蔵で牛皿に合う日本酒として開発され完成したのが「吉野家 本醸造生貯蔵酒」である。この酒は、ふんわりと香る麹の香りと米本来の旨味、そしてキレの良い軽快な味わいが売りで、牛皿との相性は勿論こと、どんな料理にでも合わせられる万能酒である。酒蔵が勧める通の楽しみ方が、
この「吉野家 本醸造生貯蔵酒」が今春から一般販売されることになった。コロナ過で外食をしにくい昨今、吉野家は昔からテイクアウトをやっており、店内であまり待たされること無く、持ち帰りが出来るという利点がある。しかも地域によっては出前サイトに掲載されており、店舗まで行く必要が無いので、今まで一人で入店するのに足踏みしていた女性にも嬉しい話である。これを機に、牛丼・牛皿をテイクアウトして、この酒で楽しんで、吉野家の良さを再認識してみてはどうだろうか。

#covid19 #daiginjo #jizake #junmai #nigori #sake #tokyo


How to Sell Sake in the Community

By Yuji Matsumoto

If you ask me if I enjoy having cocktails, my answer would be no. But that’s my personal preference. Develop sake and shochu cocktails at the restaurant and sell it. These cocktails are actually more popular, so I even have a “Sake Bomb” (a mix of hot sake and beer) on the menu. Other popular cocktails on the menu are the “sake-tini” using nigori (unfiltered)sake, and shochu mojitos.
What’s important here is that I used sake and shochu as base for the cocktails. It is about showcasing the many ways you can enjoy them other than having them straight, so people can gradually learn their flavors.
The reason why sushi became so popular in America is, without any dispute, because of the new-wave creation of “California Rolls,” although it was looked down as not being authentic by many sushi chefs from Japan. But this contributed to the increase of sushi fans, bringing in customers to the traditional nigiri-only (i.e., no rolls) and chef’s-special-only venues. If the California-style sushi, such as spicy tuna rolls and shrimp tempura rolls, disappeared from the current venues, the sushi fan base would probably diminish to 1/10 or even 1/20 of its current scale. No doubt this would eradicate the currently popular sake and shochu markets.
It is my belief that those selling sake and shochu should make efforts to “localize” when recommending them.



#cocktail #nigori #recipes #sake #shochu


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