Sake

Sake is first of all, a misnomer. In Japan the word refers to any alcoholic beverage, not just the drink called sake outside of Japan. The Japanese word for that specific drink is nihonshu. The sake that we know is a kind of rice wine, although the process of fermenting the rice is more akin to our brewing process. Sake is traditionally matured for 9 to 12 months and has a typical strength of 14 to 16% abv. There are many different types of sake, which are described and categorized in part by the amount of the rice grain which is polished away before fermentation and whether distilled alcohol is added to the finished product. Sake is generally meant to be consumed young, drank soon after its short aging period. However, one kind of sake, goshu (aged sake), is made in a way which makes it suitable for aging. Another style, taruzake, is aged in barrels made from Japanese cedar. Kuroshu is sake made from brown rice rather than the normal white rice.

Top Sake Posts:

Sake Roundup – Fukucho, Bushido, Tozai, Konteki, and Kanbara
Tasting SakeOne Imports: Hakutsuru Draft, Tanrei Junmai, Superior Junmai Ginjo, and Sho-Une Junmai Dai Ginjo
Sake Tasting and Mac Pairing with Sake Social

The Top 10 Wines for Summer 2024

By Christopher Null | March 25, 2024 |

Ready for warmer weather? Well, it’s coming like it or not, and even if you’re not a fan of hotter days and nights, summertime does mean we’ll get a chance to break out some more seasonally appropriate whites and reds that pair well with the warmer months of the year. Drop the parka and dive…

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Review: Dassai Blue Type 50 Junmai Daigingo Sake and Type 23 Junmai Daigingo Sake

By Robert Lublin | December 27, 2023 |

Dassai is a well-established sake brewery in Yamaguchi, Japan. Dassai Blue is an expansion of the brand into the U.S. where earlier this year they opened a large, ambitious new brewery in Hyde Park, New York. Although built upon the experience of Dassai, the new brewery is creating its own line of sake, and today…

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Review: Soto Sake Junmai, Junmai Daiginjo, and Yamagata Masamune Omachi Kimoto

By Robert Lublin | June 2, 2023 |

The Soto brand may be run from its headquarters in Florida but their sake is genuine, made using all natural ingredients and traditional practices in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. All three of the sakes we are trying today are junmai, which means “pure rice” and requires that the sake be made exclusively with rice, water, yeast,…

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Review: Namazake Paul Sake Advent Calendar 2022

By Christopher Null | November 15, 2022 |

You know whiskey advent calendars and wine advent calendars and beer advent calendars. Now sake gets its due, courtesy of Namazake Paul, perhaps the most noteworthy online seller of sake in the U.S. Namazake Paul’s advent calendar — the only one of its kind — is quite the production, featuring 23 180ml cups of sake…

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Review: Tyku Sake – Junmai and Junmai Ginjo (2021)

By Stephen Allison | October 27, 2021 |

It’s been seven years since we last reviewed Tyku’s (no longer Ty Ku) line of sake, and it’s high time for a refresh. Tyku, made by Nara prefecture’s Umenoyada Brewery, is one of the largest and easiest to find brands of premium-grade sake in the United States. While Umenoyada is well known for their sweet…

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Book Review: The Japanese Sake Bible

By Stephen Allison | November 14, 2020 |

Sake has been on the rise with champagne cellar master collaborations and delivery services. There is also a growing number books to build upon the foundations set by John Gauntner’s The Sake Handbook and Sake Confidential. The latest book is The Japanese Sake Bible by Brian Ashcraft. The title reminds me of Karen MacNeil’s The…

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Book Review: Sakepedia

By Christopher Null | May 23, 2020 |

In matters of sake, I tend to defer to our sake expert Stephen Allison. If Steve’s not around, author Jeff Cioletti can sub in, with his “Non-Traditional Guide to Japan’s Traditional Beverage” serving as a solid base of instruction for anyone trying to find their way through this complex category. Questions answered go far beyond…

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Review: Heavensake Junmai Ginjo and Junmai Daiginjo

By Stephen Allison | October 14, 2019 |

Champagne and Sake are two beverages that you’d think wouldn’t have much in common, but Heavensake proves otherwise. Founded by Piper-Heidsieck cellar master, Regis Camus, Heavensake fuses Champagne’s art of blending, and penchant for marketing flair, with the Japanese craft of sake brewing. The result aims to solve one of sake’s biggest hurdles in the…

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How to Read a Sake Label Part 2: Honjozo and Junmai Explained

By Stephen Allison | September 9, 2019 |

In April, we featured an article decoding Ginjo to get you started on your sake journey. One takeaway is that Ginjo sake can be seen as a “new” style because the technology needed to brew it, most notably the machines that can polish rice below 70%, were not widely adopted until about forty years ago.…

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Review: Tippsy “Sake Box” Service and Shirataki Jozen Sakes

By Stephen Allison | August 20, 2019 |

We have long had online wine clubs and beer clubs, but sake? Tippsy, which launched in November 2018, is quickly positioning itself to be the US’s major online sake retailer and yes, online sake club. Is the quality of the service and sake worth the monthly cost? Drinkhacker was sent July’s box for a tasting.…

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