SAKE - The Essence of Japanese Culture
Japan is a country of cultural elites. This quintessence is so much that it can captivate any tourist when having the opportunity to travel here. In particular, one of them, cannot fail to mention the famous wine: Sake.
Sake is the common name for Japanese liquors but also the name of a well-known Brewed Wine, which is different from Distilled Wines called Shochu.
Since Japan imported wet rice into domestic agricultural production, the production of Sake from rice has also penetrated. Sake in the old days was not for the common people, but was mainly for the royal family or large temples, and was often used in religious festivals. It was not until the late 12th century that Sake began to become a popular drink among the common people.
Sake today also has a cooking method quite similar to the wine called Kabi recorded in the "Records of the Air of Harima" (circa 716). The Heian period sake-making techniques are focused on brewing Hadaisen, a famous "brand" of Soboshu brewed at temples. Hadaisen is considered the first kind of Sake.
How to make Sake
Sake has become the national drink of Japan because the Sake production process has barely changed over the past 400 years. Sake is traditionally produced by hand, under the direction of an experienced master brewer. Today, however, to increase production capacity as well as simplify and reduce costs, many large wineries use machines to control the processes.
Everyone knows that Sake is made from rice. The sugar needed to make alcohol must be converted from starch to make Sake. In the brewing process, the conversion from starch to sugar, and from sugar to alcohol is done in two distinct steps, but in sake it happens continuously. Although it is alcohol, the alcohol content between Sake, wine, and beer is also different. Wine is typically 9-16% alcohol, and most beers are between 3-9%, while undiluted Sake has an alcohol content of about 18-20%, although the This level is often mixed with water before bottling to reduce it to about 15% alcohol by volume of the wine.
Like every wine in the world or wine, there are many factors that influence the taste of Sake by the quality of the brewing ingredients: rice, water, quality of yeast, weather conditions when brewing the wine. , tempering temperature, as well as the brewer's technique. Water plays a vital role in making sake because water accounts for 80% of the ingredients. Only groundwater is suitable and often used for sake production. However, creating the success to brew the perfect Sake is the experience and subtle feelings of the main brewer. The most suitable brewing time is in the coldest part of winter and the rice used to make wine should be rice harvested in the autumn of the same year.
Enjoy sake methodically
Depending on the season and type, people will choose the appropriate hot or cold temperature when enjoying Sake. Usually, people use heat in the off-season, warm in the winter and drink it cold in the summer. Hot sake, called Atsukan, is served in small ceramic pots called Tokkuri and in small cups called Choko. To reheat Sake according to the principle, people transfer Sake to be stored in ceramic bottles, the bottles are soaked in gradually heated water until reaching about 50 degrees or more.
Besides, many kinds of Sake are specially made for cold drinking. Sake is also divided into categories for women or for men. Men's sake is made from hard water, rich in calcium and magnesium salts, and has a slightly bitter taste. Women's sake is made of soft water and has a mild taste.
Enjoying Sake must use the right cup, there are many different types used to enjoy Sake. When drinking Sake in a relatively formal and traditional way, the Japanese may use a small, shallow plate called Sakazuki, or a small cup without a handle called an Ochoko. More formal and traditional, the Japanese use wooden cups called Masu. Masu is usually shaped like a box, square, can be painted or not. In addition, Sake can be drunk from a glass.
On cold nights, pour a glass of warm Sake into a glass, hold the wine glass in both hands to warm it up, gently shake the glass to feel the seductive aroma of rice aroma rising, then gently Take a sip of wine, leave the wine in your mouth for a few seconds, then gently pass it around your neck to enjoy the full aroma of the wine, and the delicious taste of this wine. So great!