World Sake Day, also known as Sake Day, is an annual event held on October 1 as a tribute to sake, an alcoholic beverage of Japanese origin made of fermented rice. October 1 is traditionally the starting date of sake production in the country.
If you aren't much of a sake lover, it might be just the eye-opener you need to embrace the joys of Sake.
MIO Sparkling Sake is an adventurous alternative for the Prosecco-drinking crowd. A clear, bubbly sake, MIO Sparkling Sake has just five percent alcohol by volume and a slightly sweet flavor, making it the perfect pairing for spicy foods and desserts. It is also a great entry point for the neophyte sake drinker.
In THE TASTING PANEL’s April 2014 issue, chef Kamio of Iyasare restaurant located on Fourth street in Berkeley states, “MIO Sparkling Sake pairs ideally with the light textures and delicate flavors of the artful dish” according to chef Kamio at Iyasare in the Fourth street, Berkeley. His signature beet-cured ocean trout is one example. The gravlax-style dish composed of deeply colored slices of cured trout, earthy shaved burdock and fennel root garnished with bright flavors of yuzu and sansho has captivated local food critics. Also, a splash of MIO Sparkling Sake even finds its way on to the dessert menu in a dish of berries in ginger syrup and Cabernet-blackberry sorbet. “
Start your evening with MIO Sparikling Sake! Bubble up!!!
Other paring Possibilities:
• Uncured ham
• Camembert cheese, soft cheese
• Dried fruits
• Fresh fruits (strawberry, kiwifruit)
• Gelato (mango)
Photo by Hardy Wilson
#3 Sour Plum
Refreshing and Delightlful Combination of Lime and Kinsen Plum
1.5 oz Takara Shochu
1 oz Kinsen plum wine
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 simple syrup
Shake, double strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnished with lime.A surprising combination of brightly acidic lime and the richness of the Kinsen plum wine.
Cocktail #4: Junmai Classic
Based on a Quintessential Vermouth Cocktail
2 oz Junmai
0.5 oz sweet vermouth
Stir, strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with orange.Based on a quintessential vermouth cocktail, the Junmai sake and a touch of sweet vermouth creates a modern twist on a classic aperitif.
UMAMI Recipe Series #1: Garlic Steamed Mussels
Cooking with Takara Mirin and ShoChikuBai Classic
• 2 lbs Mussles (cleaned & debearded) • 2 tablespoons Butter • 4 cloves Garlic • ½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes • 1 Lemon (zested) • 2 cups SCB Classic Sake • 2 tablespoons Takara MIRIN • To taste Black Pepper (freshly ground) • 1 cup Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley (chopped)
Directions: 1. Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. 2. Add garlic and sizzle till its golden brown, approximately.1 minuet. 3. Add red pepper flakes and lemon zest, stirring for about 1 minuet. 4. Quickly pour in Sho Chiku Bai Classic SAKE and Takara MIRIN into the pan. 5. Season with black pepper. 6. Bring sauce to a boil, stir in mussels, and cover immediately. Shake pot and let boil for 1 minute. 7. Stir mussels quickly, replace cover, and let boil for 2 more minutes. The shells will begin to open. 8. Stir in parsley, cover pot, and cook until all shells are open, 1 to 3 minutes.
Sake Pairing Suggestions: All Junmai type
Sho Chiku Bai Classic, Sho Chiku Bai Extra Dry, Sho Chiku Bai Tokubetsu Junmai, ShirakabeGura Tokubetsu Junmai
Umami in Natto and Umami in Sake!
March 21, members of Japanese Chambers of Commerce enjoyed a very special food and sake pairing event, “Natto and Sake.” Natto is centuries old Japanese food. It is fermented soy beans, and its smelly and slimy texture are known as one of the toughest foods even for the palate of the Westerners who lived in Japan and some Japanese as well. Japanese way of eating it is normally very limited, just with soy sauce and rice. However, to a chef Tim Charleson who understands this highly nutritious and umami rich ingredient it is an exciting challenge.
Some of the menus prepared for the evening wereNatto Beef Croquette with Horseradish Cream Sauce, Potato Natto Gratin with Truffle, and Manicotti Natto Primavera with Marinara Sauce. The dishes were quite amazing and eye opening particularly for Japanese whose perception of natto was based as its reputation for strong characteristics and very limited ways of preparing it. Needless to say natto dishes paired with sake beautifully. It’s just natural to pair with Sho Chiku Bai Classic and other Junmai-type sake that are also rich with umami.
The Tasting Panel Magazine, February 2014 issue featured
Sho Chiku Bai Rei, Junmai Ginjo Draft.
Like American Wines at the famous judgment of Paris, affordable, domestically-brewed Junmai and Junmai Ginjo Draft sake bests its pedigreed Japanese counterparts to achieve a milestone.
Shake, double strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with orange.
Inspired by classic tropical drinks, the Nigori provides unique texture and depth when paired with the coconut and pineapple.
MIO & Plum
1.5 oz Takara Plum wine
0.75 oz dry vermouth
Shake, double strain into chilled cocktail glass, top off with a splash of MIO Sparkling Sake, and garnish with a lemon.A floral and inviting combination of plum wine and dry vermouth, given an effervescent texture by a splash of sparkling sake.
Sake - More Brazilian Than You Know!
Sakerinha, also called Caipisake, is a sake-based version of the national drink of Brazil: the Caipirinha. The traditional recipe calls for the Brazilian liquor known as Cachaça which is distilled from sugarcane. However, perhaps owing to Brazil’s reputation for having the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, it is only natural that a sake adaptation of the cocktail has also become very popular. You can find Sakerinhas anywhere from bars and restaurants where hip younger crowds sip the drink to Brazilian jazz and pop songs, to grocery stores and supermarkets where prepackaged ready-to-drink products can be purchased for enjoyment at home and private parties. During Carnival, however, is when Sakerinha consumption reaches its peak and celebrating with food and dancing to ground-shaking samba music is the ambiance of choice.
To make a Sakerinha, place one lime cut into quarters, 1 tablespoon of sugar and crushed ice in a mug and muddle with a pestle. Lastly, add two ounces of Sho Chiku Bai Classic Sake, mix and serve. Other variations replace lime with strawberries, kiwi fruit or passion fruit.
Sake Around The World #2 – Europe
There’s no doubt about it – sake is taking the world by storm. For many years throughout Europe, if you ordered sake, you could bet with confidence that it would be served hot, no matter the season or preference. But times have changed. Today you can practically find the entire sake gamut, from warm to chilled and from classic sake to sparkling sake, and everything in between. At a small Japanese restaurant in Frankfurt, Germany, sake is served in a fashion reminiscent of a luxurious tradition. A small transparent sake glass is placed inside of a square wooden sake cup referred to as a “kiimasu.” The host then pours cool sake into the glass until it spills over the rim and is captured in the kimasu. It is believed that in the past, this method of serving both indicated the host’s generosity and conveyed to the guests how special they were. For those of us who cannot get enough great sake, there’s no better surprise than discovering an extra helping in your kimasu after you’ve finished off all the sake in your glass!
Learn More About TAKARA SAKE USA
Click here for a quick overview of Takara's history, sake production in action, and an introduction to our products.
Takara Sake USA Inc. is pleased to announce that Sho Chiku Bai Shirakabegura MIO Sparkling Sake was selected as an official celebratory drink for the award ceremony of the 37th Japan Academy Prizes (a.k.a. Japan Academy Awards) that have been awarded annually since 1978 in order to promote Japanese movies. It is the biggest award in Japan. Winners and nominees for 19 awards total will be selected from Japanese movies reliesed in 2013.
Mio Sparkling Sake will be served during the ceremony and the banquet of the celebration as well as for toasting at the reception dinner with the public audience.
The 37th Japan Academy Prize:
Date: March 7th, 2014
Place: the International Convention Center Pamir at Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa, Tokyo
Academy Prizes Hosts: Toshiyuki Nishida and Kirin Kiki
Sake Brewed in Shirakabegura Receives the Gold Award
at the Annual Japan Sake Awards for Brewing Year of 2013
- Receives the Gold Prize for the 11th Time in a Row -
BERKELEY, CA-- May --, 2014 – Shirakabegura, brewed by Takara Shuzo Co., LTD in Shirakabegura (Tounan-ku, Kobe) was awarded the highest prize, the Gold Prize in Annual Japan Sake Awards for Brewing Year of 2013*.
Since 2003, Shirakabegua has received the Gold Prize for the 11th time in a row. Except for Shirakabegura, there are only 2 sake factories where they produce sake that have received the Gold Prize more than 11times.
The Annual Japan Sake Awards are held under the auspices of the National Research Institute of Brewing and the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association. The number of entries is limited to one entry per manufacture. Juries examine and select excellent sake as prize winners, and those recognized as the very best among the prize winning sake for gold prize winners.
This year, there were 845 sake entries from all over Japan. The preliminary examination took place from April 22nd to 24th , and the final examination took place from May 8th and 9th at the office of the National Research Institute of Brewing. As a result of the examinations, 442 sake was selected for prize winners, and 233 sake was selected for gold prize winners.
There are common misunderstandings about sake. Warming sake is one of them.
- Warming Sake: A fundamental rule of serving any sake, chilled or warmed, is to understand its type. ShoChikuBai Classic is Junmai type which iswarmed, so that its rich character opens up and reveals its full flavor, making it a great sake to pair with a wide variety of foods. On the other hand Ginjo is brewed by using highly polished rice and a special type of yeast. The sake is lighter and has a clean, delicate, fruity flavor with a lingering sweetness. Ginjo type and DaiGinjo type sake should not be warmed. (more about sake type)
- ShoChikuBai has Changed the Stereotype of Warmed Sake: ShoChikuBai sake is created using both traditional craft and advanced technologies. It has changed the "inferior" stereotype of warmed sake in the U.S. ShoChikuBai Classic is both a premium quality sake, and affordable.*
- Never Overheat Sake: The serving temperature is important; 100˚-105˚F is ideal*
* ShoChikuBai Classic, brewed by Takara Sake USA Inc. was awarded the highest prize in the Junmai category of the 2011 U.S. National Sake Appraisal. Out of all 326 entries, ShoChikuBai Classic was the only sake made in the U.S. to win the Gold Award at the 2011 U.S. National Sake Appraisal.
How do you pair sake with foods?
Generally speaking, the rule of pairing of sake with foods can be best explored by considering the characteristics of the two fundamental sake types.
Junmai - type and Tokubetsu Junmai-type sake: With its full and complex flavors, enhanced by warming, Junmai-type sake is ideal with a wide variety of food, from delicate sushi to rich meat dishes. Different serving temperatures of the sake can also be tried, from slightly chilled to room temperature.
Ginjo type and DaiGinjo-type sake: Ginjo sake, produced with highly polished rice, has a clean and delicate flavor with a lingering sweetness. It is an excellent sipping drink, pairs well with light appetizers, and is sometimes enjoyed as a dessert wine. However, drinking Ginjo-type sake with dishes prepared with soy sauce or miso should be avoided. The rich Umami taste of these products will interfere with delicate Ginjo taste.
How do you warm sake?
To warm sake it is best to use a carafe, called a Tokkuri (see photo), or other small, narrow-necked container for easy management and maintenance of the sake temperature.
Warming Directions: Boil water in a pot, turn off the heat, and then place the carafe of sake into the heated water for a few minutes. Do not boil or overheat sake; the best serving temperature for sake is about 105˚F (40˚C).
Microwaving sake in its original bottle or a carafe is not recommended. It can affect sake's delicate balance and quality, and can result in a build up of pressure that may cause serious burns.
Is Soju and Shochu the same?
Both Soju and Shochu are distilled alcoholic beverages. Soju originated in Korea and Shochu is from Japan. Both are in the category of vodka-like drinks. Both are traditionally made from rice, wheat, barley, potatoes, and other starch-containing ingredients. There are two types of Shochu, The Korui-type and Otsurui-type. Korui Shochu is made with mixed grains by multiple distillations. Soju and Korui-type Shochus are commonly used in cocktails in restaurant and nightclubs, mostly in California and New York at present. The Otsurui-type (also called Honkaku)Shochu is a Japanese premium-type Shochu, produced with a single ingredientin a single distillation so that it retains the flavor characteristics of the original materials of rice, barley, buckwheat, and sweet potatoes. Both products are mainly produced on Kyushu Island in southern Japan. (see our selections)
The Sho Chiku Bai DaiGinjo is the first DaiGinjo sake produced with American-harvested Yamadanishiki rice--the result of many years of trial and collaboration with American rice farmers. Its exceptionally smooth, balanced taste, with its garland of Ginjo bouquet, is worthy of the effort and the passion that went into its making—a passion reflected in Takara’s 30-year history of sake-making in the USA.
Takara Sake Unveils Its Brand New Product, TaKaRa Can Chu-Hi "JPOP"- a Tokyo-Style Sparkling Cocktail
Chu-Hi was the first Japanese-style sparkling cocktail, appearing on the Tokyo drinking scene in the late '70s. In summer 2012, we revamped Can Chu-Hi, adding "JPOP" to the product name, and creating 2 flavors - Grapefruit and White Peach. The grapefruit flavored Can Chu-Hi is refreshing and a very popular flavor in Japan. We developed a white peach flavor for the U.S. market, which has proved to be a success.
<Product Information> Product Name: Takara Can Chu-Hi "JPOP" Category: Malt Beverage Alcoholic Content: 6.5% by volume
Gold Medal Award at the 2013 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition
June 5, 2013 - Sho Chiku Bai Rei, Junmai Ginjo Draft brewed by Takara Sake USA Inc., was awarded the Gold Medal Award in the Junmai Ginjo category of the 2013 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition. Out of 64 entries, Sho Chiku Bai Rei was the only sake made in the U.S. to win the award. The 74th Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition is an international annual event; one of the most prestigious in the United States. The acclaimed competition, in existence for 7 decades, is judged by a panel of experts, who blind-test entries with professionalism and integrity. During the 2013 mid-May competition, many varietals and price ranges were represented. This was the second year of a newly developed point system which made it possible to acknowledge each varietal's special attributes and provide a new level of precision in the competition's wine-ranking system. This proved to be a benefit for the competition and wine enthusiasts. Thirteen sake brands received awards. Sho Chiku Bai Rei received 94 out of 100 points, and was the Gold Medal winner among the three brands in the Junmai Ginjo category.
Tatsumaki Taiko performance
Berkeley-Sakai Sister City Association presents Taiko performance to welcome our Sister City Goodwill visitors from Sakai on September 13th at Takara Sake Tasting Room.
The International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event brings restaurant and hospitality industry buyers together with hundreds of established and emerging labels to connect and uncover ways that beverage alcohol can enhance menus and drive profitability.
• ¼ cup Sho Chiku Bai Sake Classic or Sho Chiku Bai Extra Dry
• 1 tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard
• 2 tbsp. (1tbspx2) Butter
• 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
• To Taste Salt & Pepper
Rub the meat with salt & pepper and let the meat come to room temperature for 30~40 minutes.
Slice onion thinly and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.
Add the 1 tablespoon butter in a pan and add meat and sear on all sides; 3~4 minutes per side.
When meat is nicely browned, add Takara Mirin and sliced onion.
Place the lid and cook in medium heat, frequently turning.
Cook roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 125°F for rare, 130°F for medium.
When desired temperature is reached, take out the meat from the pan and rest it for 15~20 minutes.
In the pan which meat was cooked, add soy sauce, sake, mustard and the rest of the butter.Reduce the sauce to preferred thickness at medium to medium high heat.
Pour sauce over the sliced meat for serving.
Sake Pairing Suggestions: All Junmai type sake
Sho Chiku Bai Classic, Sho Chiku Bai Extra Dry, Sho Chiku Bai Tokubetsu Junmai, ShirakabeGura Tokubetsu Junmai
Photo by Shukuko Heinzen
(The Tasting Panel Magazine, October 2014) EXCERPTED FROM:
“The Ancient and the Undiscovered
JAPANESE SHOCHU OFFERS A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF FLAVOR”
– the Japanese have been distilling shochu for over 400 years (“since the Edo Period.” As in any good gin or whiskey, the character of the base ingredient, and the terroir, shine through. There are also multiple- or column-distilled shochus, which are cleaner, neutral, typically served as cocktail base at least in California, commonly diluted to meet 48 proofs in order to skirt liquor laws.
But the real deal, the single-distilled shochu, is an incredibly complex and balanced product with distinctive characteristics. Like any distilled spirit, there are varying degrees of quality of shochu. As in any good gin or whiskey, the character of the base ingredient (rice, barley, buckwheat, sweet potatoes and grain), and the terroir, shine through.
Besides the dramatic difference in the base ingredients—we find the barley to be grassy and smoky like a rye whiskey, while the sweet potato offers up more roundness and fruitiness—the type of koji (koji mold) used to ferment the base ingredient (like whiskey, shochu starts with a fermented mash) add another layer of complexity. A black koji mold gives one of the sweet potato shochus, KuroYokaichi we taste a distinctive earthy nose, like a root vegetable decomposing in rich, dark soil. This may not sound entirely pleasant, but Christian Geideman, the owner of Ippuku, a hip yakitori-style restaurant in downtown Berkeley, puts it best: “The same people who appreciate whiskey appreciate the effort that goes into shochu.”
Here, shochu is mainly served neat, on the rocks or diluted with a little cold or warm water. Geideman is not a fan of mixing it in drinks (although they do serve Chu-Hi, a simple cocktail made with fresh fruit and soda water that is popular among young people in Japan): “It’s such a unique product, I don’t want to dilute the experience,” he says.
But the bartenders who attended the tasting, who are accustomed to using high-end, complex products in their drinks, were excited by the potential shochu has behind the bar. “These are some really interesting flavors,” says Moreno (Bar Agricole, San Francisco) reflecting on the possibility of substituting barley shochu (which is often aged in old whiskey barrels) for whiskey in classics like the Old Fashioned or Manhattan.