JAPANESE DRINKS: SAKE

Sake is a Japanese alcoholic drink, produced in most of its phases entirely by hand, it is a drink like a beer, obtained from a double fermentation induced by a microorganism (a mold) called koji and the addition of yeast called kobo.

Japan divides Sake into three denominations: Ginjoshi, Junmaishu, Honjozushu, but there are many others.

The type of rice is a variant that can affect the flavor, but water, rice refinement, koji, yeast and pasteurization also play their part.


HOW IS SAKE CONSUMED?

It is consumed in all seasons, it rarely keeps for more than a year, unless it is Koshu, that is, aged until it acquires the flavor of cherry, nuts and spices. If the most delicate and refined are best drunk around 7 °, like white wine, they are still appreciable even at room temperature. Some types, if heated in a bain-marie up to 40 ° or 50 °, develop excellent complexity and body.

Drinking fresh sake is the best choice. Only a few rices with the largest and most expensive grain become sake. The crucial moment is the addition of koji: an enzyme derived from rice and is the soul of sake. It is the koji that transforms rice starch into glucose. Then yeast is added: this is why we speak of multiple and parallel double fermentation.


ORIGINS OF SAKE

That of sake in Japan is a thousand-year history, inevitably linked to the origin of rice cultivation. The most ancient writings on this drink are found in some Chinese documents of the third century, which reveal that "the Japanese are very fond of sake" and "they usually drink it in company on mourning occasions". Shinto and Buddhist temples began producing it between the 12th and 15th centuries, a period in which modern fermentation techniques were developed.