Everything You Need To Know About Japan's National Beverage
Of late, you might have noticed Japanese sake doing the rounds online and no wonder, due to the creative packaging and smart marketing, sake has got people interested in experimenting it. So, we at Just Miniatures decided to give it a try. With the help of an expert, who guided us in understanding the different pairings of food with sake, we had no second thoughts about it! The drink is true to its name and imparts a rich flavour of the Japanese ingredients. The first taste noticed after drinking sake is the sweetness and sourness, followed by umami or simply known as savouriness.
Before jumping onto the list of our favourite sake recipes, let us get to know what exactly is sake?
An alcoholic beverage brewed primarily from rice and water, Japanese sake (pronounced as 'sah-kay') is a part of the history of Japan. People began drinking sake around 400 A.D. The rice and brewing technology used to prepare it is said to have originated in China. However, Japan is the only Asian country to make a clear-alcoholic beverage with refined flavour like sake. Sake has a close connection with the rituls in Japan. Even today, sake offerings are made in Shinto shrines and used as gifts in weddings and festivals. Sake is consumed warm as it is believed to improve the circulation of energy flow. Depending on the brewing technique, sake can be roughly divided into 5 types:
Some of our top picks of sake-infused food dishes and cocktails:
1. Sake-steamed clams
¾ cup sake
1 Tbsp ginger (julienned)
1.5 lbs Littleneck Clams (de-grited)
1 dried red chili pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1 green onion/scallion (chopped)
In a large frying pan, add the sake and ginger and bring it to a boil. Add the clams and a red chili pepper. Place the lid and steam on high heat for a few minutes until all the clams open. Remove the lid and add freshly ground black pepper and green onion. Shake the pan to make sure the clams are not over-lapping each other. Serve with the soup and eat while warm. (source: Just One Cookbook)
2. Cucumber Sake Shots
1 large cucumber
1/2 shot lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 shots watermelon rum
1/2 shot sake
For the Cucumber Shot Glasses: Cut 4 (2-inch) long pieces out of the cucumber. Use a melon baller to carefully scoop out flesh from 1 end, leaving a 1/2-inch bottom on the other end. Repeat with remaining cucumber pieces, reserving cucumber flesh.
For the Sake Shots: Combine cucumber flesh with lime juice in a blender. Blend until smooth, about 15 seconds. Pour cucumber puree through a fine mesh strainer, reserving 1/2 cup of cucumber juice. Add sugar and set aside.
Pour watermelon rum and sake into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Add reserved cucumber juice and shake vigorously. Pour into cucumber shot glasses. Serve immediately. (source: Food Network)
3. Strawberry Rosé Popsicles with Sake
1 cup of chilled rosé wine
½ cup of chilled sake
1 cup fresh strawberries,* hulled and halved
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
3 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup (or to taste)
Put all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of any seeds. Pour the strained mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 8 hours. Run the molds under warm water and unmold. Enjoy immediately. (source: Boozy Oyster)
4. Honeydew Sake Sorbet
3/4 honeydew, chopped (7 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup Nigori sake
Chop the honeydew. Blend the honeydew, sugar and sake until smooth. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow directions for freezing. Store in the freezer. You can also pour into popsicle molds as well. (source: Sugar and Charm)
5. Blushing Geisha Cocktail
2 ½ parts Gekkeikan Nigori
1 ½ parts chilled green tea
3 watermelon wedges
¼ part simple syrup
In a mixing glass muddle watermelon and simple syrup. Add Gekkeikan Nigori and green tea. Shake well over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a watermelon wedge. (source: Gekkeikan)
You can now shop for Gekkeikan Sake available in 18cl, 28cl and 30cl bottles at Just Miniatures!