Updated: November 06, 2018
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7 Things You Need To Know About Japanese Rice Wine: SAKE!

This post will answer most of the general questions related to Japanese sake, such as "What is Japanese sake?" & "How is it different from other alcohols?" Check out this article to clarify a few things about Japanese Sake!

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Q1: What is Sake...?

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Ok, let's start with the basic, Japanese sake is made from fermented rice. It is called "Nihonshu" (Japanese alcohol) in Japan. With the global spread of Japanese cuisine, Japanese sake has become really popular around the world.

In order to make a good-quality Japanese sake, you need a clean good water source, rice, koji mold, and some yeast to ferment. Made in brewers in many places around Japan, the only clear upper part of the whole resulting substance is bottled as "nihonshu". Generally, Japanese sake has an alcohol content of around 15 percent and sometimes even as high as 17 percent.

Q2: Why do Japanese drink Sake?

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It still isn't clear when people in Japan started to make rice wines, but probably as rice agriculture became common across Japan.

Even now, brewers are typically located in areas where rice is known for its good quality. To mention a few, Niigata, Fukui, and Aomori are famous for their both rice and Japanese sake production.

Since Japanese people were familiar with eating rice, they started to drink some alcohols made from rice.

Q3: What is the best sake brand?

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There are so many varieties of sake brands that it is very difficult to only choose one brand as the BEST sake. It really depends on the type of taste you are aiming for. A lot like wine, would you be able to select only one favourite wine brand? It would be a very difficult choice to make.

Dassai(獺祭), a sake brand originally made in Yamaguchi is always one of the top-ranked sake brands in Japan. Its characteristics are its slight sweetness and fruitiness. Its alcohol rate is about 16 percent. You can buy it online or at liquor shops around 5,000 yen for 1.8L.

Click the link below to know about the top 10 most popular brands of Japanese sake.

Q4: Can sake be used for cooking?

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Absolutely, yes! Just like cooking wines, you can use your Japanese sake for cooking. Sake can be almost used for any kinds of Japanese dishes. Just pour in some sake if you would like to add a deep flavour to your dish.

Q5: Is sake good for your health?

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Generally speaking, Japanese sake has alcohol rates around 15-17%. This is quite higher than beer and wine. There are some health benefits to drinking Japanese sake in moderation, however. Sake reduces the risk of having cancer, prevents osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even makes your skin become white and moisturized!

So the conclusion is, drink it in moderation and Japanese sake will benefit you a lot!

Q6: How do you drink sake, hot or cold?

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When you drink sake, there is a need to prepare a sake set. Sake set is a normally a combination of "tokkuri" (the bottle-like product in the right ) and "ochoko" (the small shot glass-looking cup on the left). Since the taste of sake changes with the temperature, filling half of the tokkuri will be a fine amount to enjoy your sake.

There are basically two different ways to enjoy your sake: Hiya and Atsukan. Hiya means cold style and you refrigerate not only the sake but also the tokkuri and the ochoko. On the other hand, atuskan is a heated style, for which you heat the sake in a pan with hot water after pouring the sake into a tokkuri. Both hot sake and cold sake are delicious!

What is most interesting about Japanese sake is that its taste and smell, almost everything changes with the style you enjoy.

Q7: How is sake compared to wine?

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Wine and sake are both fermented alcohols so there is not a big difference except the ingredients. Wine is made from grapes and sake is made from rice.

Compared to wine, which normally has an alcohol content of around 12-14%, Japanese sake has an alcohol content of around 15-17%, which is little higher than wines.

Japanese sake has about 134 calories per 100 grams and wine has about 83 calories per 100 grams, which makes sake a product you should be careful drinking if you are dieting!
Nancy
Quite sure I'm a Ramen freak. Almost up to 200ramens in 2017. Not only ramens but also love to eat around and drink around.

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