A Japanese Tradition
Japanese people gather to drink it. Served chilled in the summer and slightly heated in the winter, Sake is at the center of Japanese culture. Even today, it is perceived as legendary in Japan, as it was created as an offering to the gods and has the ability to ward off evil spirits. Sake was introduced to Western culture at the same time as Japanese cuisine, however remains often absent from our tables and is still widely misunderstood by Western consumers.
Sake perfectly complements the harsh winters and frivolous summers of the West. However, it is necessary to know the subtleties of each sake to understand its uniqueness. The unique traits are more apparent when compared to wine and beer. Unlike wine, sake is best consumed within a short period of time after its production and its taste does not enrich with time. Unlike beer, it does not have any carbonation. Sake is delicate with a subtle taste. It is obtained through the fermentation of rice and will generally contain an alcohol content between thirteen and sixteen percent. It is also widely used in the preparation of various cocktails which are less intoxicating than those using hard liquors such as gin or vodka.
The aroma of sake complements the light fares of Japanese cuisine but may also be served with other dishes provided they are not too seasoned. It can be served cold, on ice, at room temperature or slightly warmed in hot water, ideally to a temperature of 45 degrees Celsius. For sushi, it is best to opt for a slightly warmed sake to better balance the temperature in the mouth. By providing a good contrast to the coolness of sushi, sake is the best companion.