What Exactly is Sake and Where Did it Come From?
A traditional rice wine of Japan, sake comes in many varieties. It has its beginnings in Japan over 2,000 years ago, but the origins of making a fermented rice beverage goes back 4,000 years to China. It took the innovation of the Japanese to take sake to mass production in 1300 A.D. Today it remains the most popular drink in Japan and holds an honored place in their culture.
How is Sake Made?
The process of making sake has changed some since its humble beginnings as the product of rice farmers. Made from milled rice that has had the bran removed, it is then milled or "polished," cleaned and then boiled in clean water and reduced to mash. The concoction then has Koji fungus added and later yeast to finish the fermentation process.
The original method of making sake was for the all of the members of a village to chew rice and nuts and then spit the ‘mash’ into a communal bowl. The enzymes from their saliva began the fermentation process but it was later found that the introduction of Koji fungus (mold enzyme) and yeast would do the same.
The earliest varieties of sake were cloudy but in the 1700’s a brewery worker threw a hand full of ashes into a batch that settled the particles in the brew and clarified the sake. Whether this action was an accident or an act of destruction is legendary but the result of the actions refined sake into an even better drink.
The process of making sake has changed greatly from its inception to today. Sake is an important part of Japan’s culture. Today’s sake is of a higher quality than it has ever been and has become world-renowned. It is now produced in Southeast Asia, North and South America and China, and this has led to many varieties across the globe.
Traditionally served warm, the advent of the "sake-tini" has led mixologists to create recipes for a frozen drink made from this classic spirit. Frozen drinks made from sake include a concoction with pineapple and coconut flavors that resemble a Piña Colada, and a Sake-tini that uses orange juice and sake that is similar to a traditional mimosa. Another creative drink, the sake bomb, is created by carefully using chopsticks to drop a shot of sake into a mug of beer. This should be drunk immediately and works best with warm sake.
How Do You Like Your Sake?
Whether you prefer your sake hot or cold, pairing your drink with the creative Asian Fusion of GENKI Noodles and Sushi offers a refreshing departure from hot tea or beer. Our full menu of Asian favorites and our own creations will give you the opportunity to try different varieties of sake served warm, as a sake bomb or a frozen sake-tini. Come see us today in the Highlands and add sake to your dining experience.