PEI Liquor - Celebrate Winter 2019

HISTORY Sake has a long history and tradition in Japan- it’s been made and drunk for over 1500 years as part of festivals and religious ceremonies. Temples, landowners and home brewers throughout history have all contributed their knowledge of sake brewing over the years. Sake quality has increased over the years, and with increased global interest, traditional sake is experiencing something of a renaissance. HOWIT’SMADE Sake is an alcoholic beverage made with rice, water, yeast and a special mold called koji - that’s it! This deceptively simple recipe is actually quite finely tuned and is overseen by the Tōji- a master sake brewer. The taste, aroma and quality of sake are dependant on the brewing process as well as subtle differences in the ingredients used. First, a special variety of rice - called sake mai - is polished to remove the bran. There are over 80 varieties of this high-starch and low-protein rice that can be used for sake production. Next, the rice is steeped in water, then steamed carefully. Koji is then added to the cooked rice and left to develop for about a week, after which a yeast is added along with water that is carefully selected for its mineral content. Now, the mash or moromi ferments for 2-3 weeks. Generally speaking, lower grade sakes are fermented quickly at higher temperatures, whereas higher grades are made at lower temperatures over a longer time period. Next, the sake mash is drained, filtered, pasteurized and blended (sometimes) with a little water and then left to age for up to a year, usually in large metal vats, although some aritisinal sakes are aged in wooden barrels. The sake is now ready to drink! Long aging periods are generally not used as most sake is consumed while still “young”. STYLES There are two basic types of sake: Futsū-shu (ordinary sake) which is equivalent to a table wine, and Tokutei meishō-shu, or special designation premium sake.The main difference between the two is how the rice is processed before fermentation.

Premium Sake can be broken-down into two main styles. Some premium sakes are made with added distilled alcohol, whereas, others are made only with rice, water yeast and koji and bear the mention Junmai. One style is not better than the other, but offer different taste profiles. The other key production factor that influences the taste of premium sakes is the percentage of the outer layer of each grain of rice that is milled away. Milling or polishing the outer layers removes proteins and exposes the starch that is found at the core of the grains of rice giving the sake lighter more subtle aromas and flavours . If at least 40% of the exterior is milled away, the sake will be referred to as Ginjo (or Junmai Ginjo if made without the addition of distilled alcohol). If at least 50% is polished away, the sake will bear the mention Daiginjo (or Junmai Daiginjo if made without the addition of distilled alcohol). HOWTODRINK Sake can be served at room temperature, warm, hot or chilled, although top quality sake is not served hot, as the heat causes loss of flavour and aroma. Sake is served out of porcelain flasks known as Wtokkuri and then poured into small ceramic cups called sakazuki or choko. Chilled sake may also be served in wine glasses. PAIRINGWITHFOOD Sake is a great match for many foods. Generally speaking, lighter fish dishes, spicy asian foods, salty cured meats, salads dressed with vinaigrettes and oysters are a great match for the floral, fruit notes of a quality sake.

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Ordinary sake accounts for the bulk of sake produced, and is generally affordable, made in large batches and slightly sweeter.


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