The world of sake (seishu), also known as Japanese rice-brewed alcohol, has been around for at least 1,500 years. Brewers have perfected the craft over the centuries, using a special mould called koji to create a unique sake-making process. If you are looking to get more acquainted with sake, this article is for you!
A Guide to the Different Types of Sake and Why You’ll Enjoy Them
There are two major categories of sake, which are:
1 – Futsu-shu/Basic
Futsu-shu is the most common type of sake, which is made using polished rice, water and yeast. It is usually un-aged and ranges in taste from dry to semi-sweet.
2 – Tokutei Meisho-shu/Premium
It is also called hon-jyun (true junmai), or premium sake, which is made using specially selected ingredients. This sake is brewed using rice that has been polished to a greater extent than for the basic sake. This rice is also both polished and fermented together with the koji mould. These tokutei meisho-shu are usually aged in either large oak casks or stainless steel tanks and typically have a more complex flavour than basic sake.
Subcategories of Sake
1 – Sparkling
If you love wine, you’re going to love this type of sake. Sparkling sake is a treat and is made using the same method as champagne. It is made in the same vicinity as sudachi or yuzu, which gives it a very authentic flavour.
2 – Kimoto
The word kimoto comes from the word kimu, which means to “start something.” This sake is the oldest type of brewing method, which is carried out with the use of a thick maltose-like syrup.
3 – Genshu
Genshu, which means “undiluted sake,” is a higher alcohol content (approximately 18% ABV) than most sakes. It is typically made using a blend of rice milled by a traditional mill with 40% protein and 70% starch, which differs from the standard 65% to 70% blend.
4 – Yamahai
Yamahai is made using a special ale yeast instead of the traditional brewers’ yeast. This ale yeast, which is native to Japan, produces a fruity, sweet and creamy flavour.
5 – Nigori
Nigori, or “cloudy sake,” is a sake that was made using additional rice polishing, which is different from the regular sake process. It is most often served as cold and unfiltered, which gives it its signature cloudy appearance and thick feel in the mouth.
6 – Nama
Nama, or “raw sake,” is sake that has been unpasteurized and retains its delicate flavour and subtle aroma. This type of sake is a great option for nightcaps and is served at room temperature.
Why you Will Enjoy Sake
Sake is popular throughout Japan, but it is also popular in its neighboring countries. Sake is a great option for the designated driver or the party-goers that are looking for alternatives to the boozy speciality cocktails and red wine. It’s low in calories, a good source of fibre, and is great at boosting your immune system! All of these reasons, and more, should be why you try sake with every meal.