Enhance your sake experience

07 Jun 2018

Sake has a complex flavor and aroma that differ by sake type, region and climate, ingredients, age, brewing technique, and brewer. And even seemingly trivial things such as the choice of glass or cup can also affect the way sake tastes. We would like to introduce the traditional way to drink sake from porcelain sake vessels which will make your sake drinking experience even better.

Traditionaly, sake in Japan is drunk from small cups called ochoko, or larger cups called guinomi, and is poured from tokkuri, a small tapered flask. Ochoko usually holds about 45ml of liquid and is the perfect size for slowly sipping and enjoying the flavor and aroma of sake.

The small size of ochoko is the best for sake since sake tends to alter once its temperature changes. Therefore, sake should be consumed before its temperature changes.

The ochoko come in various materials and shapes, and the taste of the sake changes depending on the size of the cup. For example, if you drink from ochoko with a narrow mouth, it makes it easier to detect aroma of the sake. If one wants to properly taste the full flavor of the sake, a thin ochoko is the best choice.

When serving sake in ochoko, it is often filled to 80% so when drinking from ochoko, the chin remains straight or is even lowered (as opposed to a wine glass which makes the chin raised). Because of this posture, sake hits the middle of the tongue instead of the tip. This reduces the sharp taste and gives sake more body, umami and complexity.

Our recommended sake is Asabiraki Suijin Junmai Okarakuchi. Asabiraki Sake Brewery is in Iwate, the north eastern part of the main island in Japan, and the acclaimed Nanbu Style brewing technique is what makes Asabiraki stand out from the crowd, winning gold medals 12 times in row at the National Sake Competiton.

It is a versatile sake that accompanies any cuisine. Asabiraki Suijin Junmai is absolutely made to be enjoyed with a meal, and it truly brings out the best in any food. While it’s not the best premium sake, no any other sake can do quite the same. It is the high concentration of umami that makes it so special.

You might be taken aback at the initial dryness, but gradually a very subtle sweetness of rice will take over. It has a dry body with a sharp finish but it’s never too overpowering, rather clean and refreshing. The porcelain ochoko is especially suitable for this sake since it allows you to taste the sake softer. It can be served at any temperature (5-50°C), but best enjoyed at room temperature or slightly chilled.

In Japan, the only way you can enjoy this sake is in restaurants since Asabiraki doesn't sell it to bottle shops. We invite you take an opportunity and try this simple yet extraordinary sake!

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