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How To Buy Sake in the UK: A Beginner’s Guide

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When it comes to westerners, the drink “sake” appears to be a mystery. If sake is characterized as an acquired taste, then it’s possible to divide the human world into two: those who are yet to know what it tastes like and those who actually want to acquire more.

Sake is different, upon tasting it, you will find the pleasure it offers mesmerizing.

As a beginner, it is important that you have a full understanding of how it’s being made, the varieties it exists and third grades. Learning the facts and process alone might get you fascinated about it. However, actually tasting it, that wins only your heart but soul also.

Elementary of Sake

You probably wondering what exactly is a Sake — it’s an alcoholic drink from Japan. Sake is usually confused with the ones you see and drink often, that’s called ‘nihonshu’.


Japanese have been making alcoholic drinks from rice for about a hundred decade now. Although this same Sake is still being sold, new advancement has brought about new drinks like ginjo, which only came into the market 50 years ago.

In Japan, there are over 70 different varieties of rice which can be used to produce Sake. Among these 70 varieties, Yamada Nishiki, gyohakumangoku and miyamanishiki are the three main rice variety being used by most Japanese. The other varieties make about one-third of the total Sake rice.

Polishing

The polishing ratio is used to judge Sake, it helps determine the quality of Sake. What is polishing ratio? — it has to with the amount of the Sake rice milled away before the starchy core is transformed using the koji mold to fermentable sugar.

You have to understand the grades and their respective prices. Having such knowledge will enable you to purchase a quality wine at a reasonable price.

Fermentation

It seems why the Japan national drink — Sake is special or different, it comes with different style, flavor and techniques of fermentation. Toji is usually addressed as the master brewer, it’s  believed that toji is responsible for Sake great taste.

The fermentation process

It all happens in the brewery, like all other wine processes, it’s started with having the Sake rice washed properly, steamed and cooled. One-fifth of the cooled rice is taken and spread on a wooden table, where koji mold spore is added, the reason of the addition is to convert the starch into fermentable sugar.

Sake Style You Need to Know

Daiginjo — polishing ratio is 50% which makes it super premium. A minute amount of distilled alcohol is added to it for better taste, flavor and aroma. It’s usually preferred when chilled.

Ginjo — has a polishing ratio of 40%, it’s also a premium Sake drink, with great fragrant, and best served chilled.

Honjozo — it’s another great premium Sake with polishing ratio minimum of 70%. Honjozo is light, mildly fragrant. It also has a minute amount of distilled alcohol added to enhance its flavor and aroma.

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