The cultivation of rice began in China, from where fermented drink with wild yeast was born, called sake. The fermentation process of making sake was reserved for the priestesses in the 7th century, with even the imperial court giving it a noble and sacred status, integrating it into religious rites ever since.
In the face of the growing demand for sake in the 15th century, it was manufactured in large tanks combined with mineralized water. The quality of sake depends on three factors: technical knowledge, water quality, and rice quality.
“Sake” is a Japanese word referring to any alcoholic beverage. Until mid-nineteenth century, sake was known as the only alcoholic drink, until the exposure of wine, beer, and whiskey made its way into the country through imports and exports.
How to consume Sake the right way
You have two options: cold or hot sake. There are some things to take into consideration:
The first and foremost factor to consider is its temperature, which depends on:
- The type of sake
- The season of the year
- The taste of the person
To really get a true flavor and sensitize your palate to sake, it’s best to drink it hot. However, there are many much stronger , in which case it is best to drink cold or at room temperature for reducd intensity.
Whether Sake is drunk hot or cold also depends the season. Traditionally, summer urges a cold sake drink whilst a hot sake is much preferred through winter.
Curious facts about sake
There are several types of sake
Muroka, which does not go through afiltration process
Geshu Nama Muroka, which is unfiltered or unpasteurized – its flavor is strong and harsh.
Honjozu: distilled alcohol is added during its preparation to enhance its aroma and flavor
Ginjo: contains fruity and sweet flavors and aromas
Junmai: contains 20% polishing (initial process in which proteins are eliminated and grains are left) – it has an acidic and strong flavor
Aiginjo: it is of higher purity and with a much more delicate process.
- Sake is called atsukan when it is hot, joon if it is at room temperature and reishu when it is cold.
- The belief in drinking it hot comes from the fact that a human tongue perceives flavors better at 21 degrees (hence drinking it hot in the past).
- Traditionally, it was placed in ceramic vases called tokkuri and served in ceramic vessels called o-choko.
- The depth and shape of the container will directly affect its flavor. For example, for a more aromatic sake, it should be served in wine glasses to better release its flavor.
- It is customary that the person who is going to serve sake must fill all the glasses equally except his own, because he should not serve himself, someone else must do it in his place, and if not, he must be served last at the very least.
- It must be decided if sake must be served with one hand or with both, and the person to whom it is served must lift their glass or containers with the same hands with which the other person serves, otherwise it is considered a sample of bad education.