Updated: Sep 26, 2022
Whether you already enjoy drinking Sake or don’t even know what it is, this is your complete guide on how to become a Sake expert!
Sake pronounced “Saw Key,” is its own category. It is neither wine, beer, or spirit, it is simply Sake. Most Sake breweries are family-owned with generations of history that genuinely makes each Sake special.
How Is Sake Made?
Sake is brewed from fermented rice and gets its flavor from rice polishing. The polish ratio determines the flavor of the Sake, which means the less polished the rice is the more earthy and dry it will be. The finished Sake will also be fruitier and more floral with a more polished rice. The four basic ingredients of water, rice, yeast, and koji make a variety of different Sake flavor profiles that we will dive into!
Junmai is an earthy, full-bodied, and often dry Sake that can be served at any temperature. It is known for being higher in umami and having no minimum polish percentage requirement.
Honjozo is lighter on the palate than Junmai, but equal in quality and alcohol content even though it has an extra ingredient of a small amount of brewer's alcohol for flavor and aroma. Honjozo must have a minimum 70% polish ratio.
Ginjo/Junmai Ginjo is often fruity but can be dry and is known to have floral aromatics. It has a wide range of flavors due to its longer and slower fermentation. Ginjo must have a minimum 60% polish ratio.
Daiginjo/Junmai Daiginjo is usually described as fruity, smooth and elegant with higher aromatics. Brewing Daiginjo is more complex because of special processes that are used, and it must have a minimum 50% polish ratio.
Nigori is considered "cloudy" because of lingering rice sediment. This Sake can be dry or sweet and is known to have a tropical flavor and aroma
Namazake is unpasteurized, must be refrigerated, and is mostly seasonal
Sparkling Sake is lower in alcohol and sometimes sweet, but can be dry
Taruzake is a cedar-aged Sake
Infused/Liqueur is flavored Sake that is lower in alcohol and slightly sweet
Sake is not designed to be aged which means there are no vintages. Unlike wine, after a bottle of Sake has been opened it will last for WEEKS! However, like wine, Sake is around 15%-16% ABV which discredits the myth that Sake is higher in alcohol. Many alcoholic beverages have a holiday dedicated to them and Sake is no different with its celebration on October 1st!
Sake is extremely versatile with being used for cooking in a large variety of recipes as well as compliments many different dishes from all over the world. Contrary to what most people believe, Sake goes with anything, not just Asian cuisine. To further drive this point, Sake and cheese happen to be a natural pairing!
Knowing who to market and how to market Sake is important for its continued growth and enjoyment!
Sake consumers are primarily upper income Millennials and Generation X who are married with children. Although these insights are the general outline of the consumer profile, they are not the only ones who enjoy the alcoholic beverage. There is a lot of room for growth in each category to further the reach of consumers. When promoting Sake, be sure to target younger generations by mentioning health and target older generations by mentioning reduction of spirit consumption.
Points To Mention
When promoting Sake to new or curious consumers there are a few key facts to note:
Sake is gluten and sulfite free
Sake can last for weeks after a bottle has been opened
Sake is commonly used in cooking as well as compliments diverse types of dishes, not just Asian cuisine
Sake has many different flavor profiles that should be explored
Sake can be served cold or hot
Sake is 15-16% ABV, just like wine
Since Sake is the 3rd fastest growing flavor in wine there is a lot of potential that is yet to be tapped! Now that you are a Sake expert, go out and explore all of our amazing Sakes on eRNDC!
Sake responsibly, Cheers!
3 oz. Sake
1 oz. Lime Vodka
.75 oz. Real Lychee Puree
.75 oz. Lime Juice
.5 oz. Cranberry Juice
Method: Combine all ingredients over ice, shake, and strain into Martini glass Finally, garnish with an orange twist.
3 oz. Sparkling Yuzu Sake
1 oz. Peach Vodka
.5 oz. Peychaud’s Aperitivo
.75 oz. Real Peach Puree
.75 oz. Lemon Juice
Method: Combine all ingredients, except sparkling Yuzu Sake, over ice and shake. Top off with sparkling Yuzu Sake, roll, and strain into wine glass over fresh ice. Finally, Garnish with peach slivers.