月別アーカイブ: 2021年11月

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Have You Ever Been to Saga Prefecture?

Have You Ever Been to Saga Prefecture?

Saga Prefecture is located in the north west of Kyushu and is the island’s smallest prefecture, but is the perfect getaway from the more-populated nearby areas of Fukuoka and Nagasaki.

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If you’ve ever visited Saga Prefecture, you have probably explored archeological wonders of Yoshinogari Park, where settlements here which are said to date from the Yayoi Period (300 BC to 300 AD),  walked around Yutoku Inari Shrine, which was built in honor of the deity known in Shinto Buddhism as Inari who is also known to guard foxes and rice, went shopping around Arita and Imari, known for its ceramics in the form of gorgeous pottery pieces, or even had a chance to participate in Saga International Balloon Fiesta, an international hot air balloon competition.

While sample the local delicacies such as the the delicious Saga beef, or squid at the Yobuko Morning Market, or Onsen Yudofu, tofu  with Saga spring waters from the local Ureshino onsen region, you might have had a chance to drink local Saga sake. Nogomi is a sake with sweet taste typical of Saga. Fermented at low temperatures, it takes about twice as long to brew as regular sake, and has a soft aroma and rich taste.

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Baba Shuzojo

The Nogomi area is surrounded by green mountains and a beautiful expanse of rural scenery. Baba Shuzojo has stood on the banks of the Nogomi area’s central river for more than 200 years. Although the brewery’s history dates back to 1795, it only began selling “Nogomi,” its refined sake loved by sake fans, when the 8th generation Daiichiro Baba took over the business.

In order to brew sake they can be proud of, Baba Shuzo continues its small-scale production and has gained fans in doing so. Baba Shuzojo sake pairs well with the rich flavors of Saga cuisine; the sweetness is not overwhelming, and you can taste the flavor of the rice.

Nogomi Junmai Ginjo is the most popular and representative sake of the brewery. This Junmai Ginjo is made from Yamada Nishiki from Kashima and is the result of the efforts of the farmers and the brewery. The aim is to create a sake that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, so that everyone can enjoy it on a daily basis. The sake has a fruity aroma, but the taste of Yamadanishiki comes through, making it a perfect match for food. Although it is a Junmai Ginjo, it can also be enjoyed slightly warm.

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30th of Every Month Is Lemon Sour Day! Make a Sour with Kakushigura Mugi Shochu

What Is Lemon Sour Day?

In Japan, lemon sours (remon sawā) are ubiquitous simple cocktails made from shochu (Japan’s answer to vodka), soda water and lemon juice. They’re a classic standby order at an izakaya, especially in the warmer months, and you’re guaranteed to find them at convenience stores, right next to the whisky highballs and beer. There are different types of canned Lemon Sour, from bitter to sweet, strong fizzy, or different ABV levels to enjoy at home in Japan, but, it’s so easy to make Lemon Sour at home!

Lemon Sour Day was established by a brewery based in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, which manufactures and sells a variety of products including shochu, sake, and alcoholic beverages. The date was set on the 30th of each month to encourage people to drink sours with colleagues, friends and family at the end of the month. In Japanese wordplay, 3 can be read as ”sa” (3),  and 0 can be read as “wa”, hence the date. The anniversary was recognized and registered by the Japan Anniversary Association in 2019.

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Make Lemon Sour at Home!

Making the best Japanese “lemon sour” requires good lemons, your favorite bottle of distilled liquor, and a little patience. Follow the recipe below for the best result!

How to make Lemon Sour

1/2 lemon
50 ml shochu
130ml sparkling water (add less if your prefer it stronger)
Ice

Squeeze the lemon into a glass. Fill with ice, add shochu and sparkling water and mix with a muddler.

Kakushigura Mugi Shochu is one of the best choices for mixing in drinks such as highball and lemon sour.

It is made from the pure spring water of the Shirasu plateau in Kagoshima and carefully selected barley. The result is a clean, crisp, unadulterated barley shouchu. It is then slowly matured in barrels, which adds incomparable richness of flavour and a mellow, vanilla-like aroma. A luxurious retreat where you can savour the depths of time, this shochu will take  the lemon sour to the next level!
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Tohoku Meijo – Masters of Kimoto Sake

Brewery from Yamagata Prefecture

Sakata in Yamagata Prefecture has prospered as an important port town for maritime traffic since the Edo period. It was in this town in 1893 that Hisakichi Sato, a shipping wholesaler, learnt the art of sake brewing from Teiichiro Sakai of the Sakai family of the old Shonai clan, and started a sake brewing company with the brand name “Kinkyu”. At the beginning of the Showa period (1926-1989), when the first son was born in the family, the name of the brand was changed to “Hatsumago” in the hope that the sake would be loved and appreciated by everyone.

The brewery has been brewing sake using the traditional “Kimoto-zukuri” method since its foundation. The traditional method of making sake is to use lactic acid bacteria in the air to prevent the growth of organisms other than sake yeast. It requires skills and experience cultivated over many years and there are only a few sake breweries in Japan that use this method. It is said that the yeast, which is nurtured by cleverly inducing the workings of the natural world, produces a healthy and vigorous fermentation in the unrefined sake, resulting in a strong and robust sake. The result is a sake with a deep taste and a clean finish.

Hatsumago will continue to develop and pass on the rich flavours of sake that are unique to Sakata, a region blessed with water and greenery and with a rich local climate.

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Hatsumago Honkarakuchi Junmai Makiri

This is a refreshing, pure dry sake with a deep taste and excellent sharpness, made using a unique fermentation technique. It has the lightness of a highly refined sake, but the taste is strong and has the thickness of taste that only Kimoto can provide. It is more than just a regular dry sake – the strength of the kimoto may be due to the lactic acid, but this does not make it taste stale and keeps it rich.

Another point worth mentioning is that it is an interesting sake that changes its expression with temperature. At room temperature or slightly cooler, it’s a dry sake that cuts through quickly, but when it’s lukewarmed, the sake seems to curl up in the mouth and becomes more flavourful. It is a very versatile sake that can be served cold or lukewarm.

This junmai is named “Makiri”, which is a sharp knife used by fishermen in Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture. It is believed to be a good luck charm to ward off evil. It is a dry sake with a sharp crisp taste, which is why this dry Junmai sake was given the name “Makiri”.

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November 23rd Is Yuzu Anniversary! Celebrate with Choya Yuzu!

November 23rd Is Yuzu Anniversary

November 23rd was established as a Yuzu Anniversary by the Kochi Prefecture Yuzu Promotion Council of the Kochi Federation of Horticultural and Agricultural Cooperatives. Kochi Prefecture’s yuzu is grown in greenhouses and open fields, and is shipped all year round. The aim of this project is to promote the rich flavor of Kochi’s yuzu to a wider audience.

Yuzu (Japanese citron) is a small evergreen tree of the mandarin family, the citrus fruits. It is often seed-rich and has a strong acidity and aroma. It is one of the most cold tolerant citrus fruits. Yuzu trees are known to grow slowly and the “Misho growing method,” which means growing from seed, takes 15–20 years before yuzu trees can bear fruit. In order to shorten the time it takes to bear fruit, it is often grafted onto the Karatachi (trifoliate orange) tree, which can be harvested in a few years.

The attractive Yuzu plays an indispensable supporting role in complementing Japanese dishes, and due to its refreshing properties is also a great ingredients in liqueurs and cocktails.

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 Celebrate with Choya Yuzu

CHOYA Yuzu is a sweet tasting liqueur made with the filtered pulp of the yuzu fruit.
Always committed to the pursuit of high quality and authenticity using only natural ingredients in all CHOYA products, CHOYA Yuzu is made with only top-quality Japanese yuzu citrus freshly picked in Shikoku island (the major region for cultivating yuzu in Japan).

Fresh yuzu citrus juice and 100% natural ingredients are used in this yuzu liqueur. As all CHOYA products, it is made without acidity regulators, flavorings, colorings, and artificial sweeteners, so you can enjoy the true flavor of the yuzu. It has a sleek frosty bottle with simple yet beautiful Japanese design.

CHOYA Yuzu is excellent on its own or with soda. You can also enjoy it simply on the rocks, with mixers or make great tasting cocktails. A simple way to enjoy CHOYA Yuzu is a cocktail called Yuzumosa. You can make it just by mixing equal parts of CHOYA Yuzu and sparkling wine. It has a refreshing taste with a well-balanced sweetness and touch of pleasant bitterness.
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Have You Ever Been to Aomori Prefecture?

Have You Ever Been to Aomori Prefecture?

Aomori is the northernmost prefecture on Japan’s main island Honshu. Aomori draws visitors with its stunning natural environment, as well as hot springs, art, and delicious food.

If you have ever visited Aomori Prefecture you probably went to places such as Hirosaki castle, one of the finest places in the country for blossom viewing, enjoyed the expansive coastlines of Hachinohe, and you if you were lucky, you might have even taken part in the famous Nebuta festival in August! The festival features traditional music, fireworks displays, and a parade of floats illuminated from the inside by thousands of lights.

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After visiting Aomori’s attractions, you might have tried the local delicacies such as Kenoshiru (nourishing winter dish featuring diced vegetables, tofu, and fried bean curd in miso soup), Barayaki (grilled beef rib meat cooked on a hot plate), and of course the delicious Aomori’s apples and the apple pie. After all of the sightseeing activities and the food tasting, a cup of refreshing Aomori sake is a must! If you would like to try the high quality sake from Aomori, you might already know that Momokawa Brewery makes one!

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Momokawa Brewery

Momokawa Sake brewery was established in 1889 and is famous for its excellent quality sake. Momokawa sake is brewed with the pure water of the Oirase River, also known to the local residents as the Momoishi River.  The brewery’s expert team of certified first-class sake brewers is skilled in the techniques, traditions, and theory of the “Nanbu Toji,” a proud and well known school of master brewers that originated in Iwate Prefecture. This team is devoted to producing a top-quality product that meets the high standards of the Nanbu Toji and guarantees customer satisfaction.

Momokawa’s award-winning Nebuta brand sake derives its name from Japan’s famous Nebuta Fire Festival. One of the well-known products of this brand is Momokawa Nebuta Tanrei Junmai, which has won the numerous awards such as U.S. National Sake Appraisal and Japan’s Annual National Sake Contests. Made with the natural spring water from Oirase river combined with Aomori local grown sake rice Mutsuhomare, this dry junmai-shu is created to have a light, refreshing flavor and thirst-quenching taste. This sake can be served cold, at room temperature, or warmed.
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Daiyame – the Next Generation Shochu

Daiyame – the Next Generation Shochu

DAIYAME is a word in Kagoshima dialect for “an evening drink that relaxes you after a long day”. DAIYAME refers to a traditional habit in which you enjoy an evening drink with family or friends to give thanks for the day that has ended and refresh yourself for the coming day. Hamada Shuzo chose the word DAIYAME in the hopes that through this shochu, which is easily available and can be enjoyed in a variety of drinking styles, people will share the wonderful, local cultural traditions while having a refreshing drink at the end of the day.

DAIYAME 25 was launched in September 2018 to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary, with the concept of “experiencing the distinctive aroma” and the aim of becoming the next generation of shochu. It is made from “Koujuku” sweet potato with a rich aroma brought out by an original aging method. Packaged in jet black glass with black labeling and a golden sweet potato accent in the center, Daiyame carries a noticeable lychee fragrance that all but leaps out of the bottle.

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Kojuku potato is the secret behind DAIYAME’s rich lychee aromas coming from the monoterpene alcohol (MTA) contained in large amounts in Koujuku-imo.  Punchy notes of lychee reminiscent of wines from the Alsace region, the super versatile and multi-functional DAIYAME is highly regarded around the world. In 2019, it won the Trophy (the highest award in its category), the pinnacle of the shochu category, at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), one of the world’s three major liquor contests. It was also awarded the double gold in the shochu category at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) in 2020.

The essence of the fragrance comes to the force when soda water is added. Follow the steps below to make DAIYAME Highball and have a relaxing drink at the end of the day!

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November 11 Is Tachinomi Day! Try an Easy to Drink Sake!

November 11 Is Tachinomi Day!

Tachinomi are Japanese standing bars (“tachi” meaning stand, “nomi” meaning drink). Since the number 11 resembles the figure of a person standing and drinking, November 11 has been registered as “Tachinomi Day” by the Japan Anniversary Association.

It is believed that tachinomi started in Edo Period (1603-1868), when sake shops started offering customers a quick drink from square wooden measuring cups known as masu. Although these were traditionally Japanese bars catering to the working class,  in recent years, a novel type of tachinomi bars have experienced a widespread surge in popularity—they are popping up in many different locations, with elaborate interior designs, offering a wider selection of food and drinks and attracting a colorful crowd.

Tachinomi establishments have become a hip drinking places catering to various customers— from sleek, minimalist bars in affluent areas catering to a sophisticated female clientele,  to tiny chic haunts serving organic French wine and plates of charcuterie to hip young designers.

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Try an Easy to Drink Sake on Tachinomi Day!

Although tachinomi establishmets now offer a wide range of alcoholic beverages, the basic  drinks are typically beer, nihonshu (Japanese sake) and shochu. So how about trying a sake that is perfect for sipping on Tachinomi Day (you can even try doing this while standing!)

Rihaku is based in Matsue, Shimane prefecture, and they make several types of sake, at least one for each occasion. The diligent effort and great skill of toji (head of the brewery) and kurabito (brewery workers) are evidenced by the many gold medals the brewery won in the New Sake Tasting Competition.

Rihaku Junmai Blue Purity is made with a recently developed rice Kannomai, which is only used in Shimane prefecture. Rihaku Junmai BLUE PURITY has a quite complicated flavour such as a combination of Matsu pine resin, roasted chestnut and a touch of honey and bitter cacao. Dryness and umami of Kannomai rice is perfectly balanced, you can easily drink one cup after another. Drink chilled or slightly warm.

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The Best Selling Sake in October Was Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale 330ml!

The Best Selling Sake in October Was Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale 330ml!

Kiuchi Brewing Company, who is manly known for making world-class sakes, founded Hitachino Nest Beer in early 1996. Today, it produces a variety of alcoholic beverages, including shochu and wine. The brewery, however, owes its reputation to the incredibly tasty Hitachino Nest beer which is now distributed in 15 countries around the world.

Hitachino Nest Beer started with only three beers, and since then they been adding to the innovative beer line-up every year, and continuing brewing the best to enrich beer enthusiasts’ lives every day. They incorporate different styles of beers with their own unique cultural heritage. Red rice, native spices and, of course, sake is used in some of their brews.

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale is a very unique brew, made with special grains of red rice grown in the old days of Japan. It pours a nice reddish, almost berry-colored hue, with aromas of fruity sweetness and sake.

With an impressive soapy-white head, a light sweetness is at the heart of Red Rice Ale,  with complex sake-like flavours and a malt sweet notes with hints of strawberries in the nose and palate. It leaves a slightly sweet, smooth and refreshing after taste. The sake notes that come from the rice add a unique touch and shows how playing with different ingredients in traditional styles pays off. The beer is a very easy drinking experience, without the feeling of the 7.0% ABV strength.

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Have You Ever Been to Akita Prefecture?

Have You Ever Been to Akita Prefecture?

Akita Prefecture is a large prefecture located along the Japan Sea Coast of Japan. Mountainous, rugged, and traditional, the prefecture still remains one of Japan’s places of natural beauty. If you have ever been to Akita Prefecture, you have probably visited  the famous tourist attractions such as Kakunodate, where samurai residences were built during the Edo Period (around 1603-1868), and Nyuto Onsenkyo, where hot spring inns dot in the mountains.

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A prefecture fueled by rice farming, it’s no wonder Akita is home to the most delicious rice and food culture in general. When it comes to food in Akita, you might have tried kiritanpo which are rice skewers that are native to the prefecture, and a lot of special attention is paid in preparing them. Freshly cooked rice is pounded until it is slightly mashed, then moulded on skewers made from Japanese cedar, and toasted over charcoal fire in an open hearth.

Since Akita is one of the best rice-producing areas in the Tohoku region, it is also very active in producing sake, and you might have tried sake from one of the most well-known breweries in Akita.

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Akita Meijo

Made with high-quality rice and bountiful water—that’s Akita’s sake. To bring the mellow and profound flavor of this high-grade sake and share it with the nation, brewers, politicians, and investors gathered in 1922 (Taisho 11) and founded Akita Meijo, and thus the brand Bishu Ranman was born. Since its establishment, Bishu Ranman has consistently followed the philosophy of “sake quality first,” and has been conscious of providing a stable supply of uniform sake quality through brewing methods that take advantage of the natural climate and characteristics of Yuzawa City in Akita Prefecture.

Ranman Junmai Managutako is made with 100% Akita Komachi rice grown under contract with JA Komachi in Akita Prefecture. It is made by fully utilizing the flavor of the rice. It is characterized by the 100% rice flavor, moderate acidity, and a well-balanced, fresh aroma. The kite picture on the label is a Yuzawa Managu kite (Yuzawa Kites are a tradition dating back to the Genroku Period, and Managu refers to pure black kites) with a design of a Hannya mask and eyes (manako). This sake reveals the best qualities of Akita sake!

 

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