If you’ve never tried sake (pronounced sa-keh), Japan’s national drink is worth exploring. While sake is often referred to as “rice wine,” its production is more akin to beer brewing due to the starch in the rice grains converting to sugar before fermentation takes place. With less than 20% alcohol by volume (ABV), sake offers complex aromas, a silky texture and subtle flavours of fruit (think pear, apple, banana), herbs, spice and flowers.
Sake production is a painstaking process that involves polishing rice grains to expose their starchy core before fermentation; less polishing yields richer, fuller sakes such as Junmai and Honjozo, while more polishing yields finer, more aromatic styles such as Ginjo and premium Daiginjo. While some sakes can be sipped heated or at room temperature, many premium sakes should be chilled lightly and can be served either on its own or with a range of foods – sushi is a classic pairing. Ready to explore? We’ve got a captivating collection of this must-try sipper.