The best drink with food
Forget about food and wine pairings! There is one drink that outclasses our good old red when combined with food: the sake Japanese.
The explanation is scientific. To obtain this drink, the master brewer ferments rice for a period of up to 1.5 months, compared to 2-3 weeks for wine.
However, who says more fermentation also says more amino acids.
It is the latter which, by encountering molecules present in food (the nucleotides), will make our taste buds salivate and provide us with this so tasty taste called “umami”.
It has been shown that sake contains many more amino acids than wine, beer or any other alcohol that we love so much in the West!
Not convinced? Try to combine a traditional sake with cold meats or cheese… An incomparable treat!
Several sakes in a single bottle
If it’s not magic, it looks a lot like it. Some sakes offer you totally different sensations depending on the tasting temperature.
Sake is an alcoholic drink designed to be consumed at all temperatures. Some sakes are delicious fresh and fantastic hot.
Put them in a bain-marie up to 55 ° C and taste them in a small traditional ceramic as an accompaniment to hot dishes: make the comparison by consuming the same cold beverage in a wine glass, you will have two totally different sakes!
Heating the sake rounds it off in the mouth and gives it an unexpected volume. Be careful, however: some sakes do not support the rise in temperature.
To give it a try, opt for a traditional sake that has body or, better yet, ask your dealer for the most appropriate advice.
The best drink to party (and go to work the next day)
Japanese sake is rice and water. It’s hard to make it simpler. Consequence: your body (and especially your head) will have an easier time recovering from any abuse.
First advantage: if you consume it hot, your intestine will not have to work to warm it to 37 ° C in order to digest it: this will prevent you from stinging your nose after a meal that is a little too beefy.
Always consumed hot, alcohol will be more easily digested by your body.
This reduced time will allow you to better control your alcohol consumption since you will experience the effects almost instantly.
Second advantage: no sulphites, no preservatives, no distilled alcohols and no tannins = no hangover the next morning (or less, it depends).
But there again, the world of sake is too vast for everyone to lend themselves to this little game of purity: in order to consume sake without additions, select sakes from the “junmai” (“pure rice”) category. You might have some nasty surprises with others.
Sakes for all occasions and for all tastes
With more than twenty categories / subcategories, which often pile up and get tangled up, the world of sake is a gigantic ocean that is not at all quiet.
How do you compare a sake aged 10 years with a new ultra-aromatic sake, or a coarsely filtered sake?
Their profiles are so different that we sometimes think we are dealing with drinks made from different ingredients.
The production of sake is complex and the work of the brewer requires real expertise.
Each production step sometimes drastically influences the final product.
There are thus sparkling sakes that can replace excellent champagnes, sakes aged in the spirit of our medieval wines, traditional sakes comparable to no other drink in the world …
This fantastic diversity makes it possible to benefit from sakes that adapt to all occasions.
Whether to party or for a traditional ceremony, to consume with friends or in a more intimate or professional setting …
Don’t like sake? No, you just haven’t found yours yet …
A fascinating story
To discover sake is to discover the Japan. Rarely will a people have so appropriated a drink.
It’s quite simple: it was not until the 19th Century that the majority of Japanese discovered fermented alcohols other than sake!
If “rice wine” was produced in China and Korea until the 16th century, they abandoned it in favor of other alcohols, especially from distillation, leaving the Japanese people alone with their sake (or almost ).
Japanese sake has therefore known everything from the times of Japan. Times of prosperity and greatness, as during antiquity when the temples competed in ingenuity to improve it.
Dark times, until the ultimate decay when in 1970, a scandal revealed that more than half of entry-level sake did not even use rice.
Reserved for the emperor and his court during the heian period, then brewed for the elites, it became popular over the centuries.
It will thus become “the drink of the people” in the 19th century, when it was presented as a caloric substitute for people with undernutrition.
A massive financing weapon for the war, it represented up to 30% of the State’s revenue from the 1880s to 1940!
Like the country, the sake left devastated by the Second World War: the mass production and the more than doubtful quality of the sakes (just like the traditional and patriotic values that it conveyed at a time when the Japanese people, traumatized by defeat, turned away from them), earned him a ticket to hell.
Denied by a whole generation, he had to reinvent himself to experience a welcome revival that began in the 1980s and continues today.
Today, sake appears like a phoenix: more alive and dynamic than ever. The new generations of Japanese brewers are juggling a return to traditions and a bit sassy innovations.
The world is seizing on this drink and sake breweries are emerging on 5 continents.
All the signals are green for this alcohol finally rid of most of its demons.
The strongest alcoholic drink in fermentation
As you will have understood, Japanese sake has nothing to do with the “Chinese sake” that is offered to you in Asian restaurants at the end of a meal.
See as well
Much less strong in alcohol since the result of fermentation (like wine and beer), Japanese sake is often consumed around 15% alcohol.
However, this drink reaches 20% at the end of fermentation. A record!
Thanks to a demanding manufacturing process, where the control of temperatures and the successive additions of raw material are essential points, alcoholic fermentations reach rates never seen among fermented drinks.
So is sake strong in alcohol? Maybe yes, maybe no… depending on how you look at her.
A drink that is good for your health?
“酒 は 百 薬 の 長: Sake wa hyakuyaku no cho”, this Japanese saying, vulgarly translated as: “sake is the best medicine”, is well established in the minds of older generations.
Many studies tend to prove the beneficial effects of sake on health (and many others show the opposite).
If we refer to these studies, sake would have many beneficial effects on our body.
Thus sake would reduce the risk of cancer, osteoporosis, stroke, heart problems.
It would reduce diabetes, blood pressure and fight Alzheimer’s by improving memory!
By the way, until studies proclaim that sake could bring peace to the Middle East, there is only one step …
Regardless, there is an amazing tradition in Japan of adding 1% sake to your bath.
There are many beneficial effects for the skin due to amino acids and peptides.
Added to this are other effects: weight loss, better sleep, better blood circulation …
We let you judge all of these assertions / allegations.
Let us simply underline that like other alcohols, sake helps reduce the stress of everyday life, but on one condition: it must be consumed in moderation.
These 7 arguments are there to encourage you to be curious, not to encourage you to some excess … The best for your health is not to consume (too much) of it …
To get informed and keep up to date with the latest news from the sake world, visit the sake-info facebook group. This brings together professionals from the field (producers, sake-sommeliers, importers, trainers, etc.) and enthusiasts.
To taste a good sake, visit our website osake.fr or contact us via our facebook or instagram page!
We brew every winter in Japan in different breweries. Having become sake importers for 5 years, we are also approved trainers to award the certificate of Sake Sommelier in France.