This revered Japanese alcoholic beverage is more interesting and versatile than you think.
Going up by the breadth and variety of Japanese restaurants popping up in Singapore, it’s safe to say that Singaporeans have a yen (hah!) for this particular cuisine. But while most of us are able to rattle off a list of our top restaurants for ramen and yakitoki, it seems that sake hasn’t quite caught up in terms of popularity, which is a mystery to us since many Singaporeans have become more savvy about their wines, whiskies and gins in recent years.
We believe this is set to change, and that sake will be the alcohol of choice for those in the know, and here’s why:
1. It offers a complete taste experience like no other
While it is often likened to wine, its brewing process is closer to that of beer. Where wine requires the fermentation of sugars present in the fruit (grapes), beer requires the sugar to first be converted from starch before it’s able to produce alcohol. Then again, that’s where the similarity to beer ends. While the process of converting sugar from starch, and alcohol from sugar takes place in two steps for beer, this process happens simultaneously in the brewing of sake. One of the reasons why sake has such clean, fresh flavours is because the rice used in the brewing process is usually polished first, ensuring that there will be no impurities when it’s left to ferment. The higher percentage of rice that’s milled away, the higher grade the sake.
2. There are many varieties of sakes of differing grades
Many people aren’t aware of just how complex sakes can get, despite the fact that there are no vintages in sake. Lots of factors determine the final taste of sake: From the quality of rice used, the percentage the rice has been milled to, quality of water, as well as many other environmental conditions. Generally, there are three broad categories of sakes: Daiginjo, junmai, and honjozo. Daiginjos are the highest grade of sakes, are made with the highest percentage of polished rice, and usually the most expensive. Junmais – or the “middle ranked sakes – can come in a variety of flavours, while honjozos usually have added distilled alcohol and lighter flavours. Daiginjos are usually drunk cold, as heating them will take away a lot of their delicate flavours.
Delve deeper into the sake world and you’ll discover rarer or limited edition variants such as namazake (sake that hasn’t been pasteurised), hiyaoroshi (sake that’s been pasteurised just once, where a majority of sakes have undergone pasteurisation twice), and nigorizake (unfiltered sake).
3. Sake pairs well with most foods
Contrary to popular belief, sake doesn’t just pair well with Japanese food like sashimi or yakitori. In fact, it also goes with grilled dishes from other cuisines, hot pots, and much more. There are really no hard and fast rules – except never to drink a daiginjo warm – and in fact, some sake experts we’ve spoken to have even encouraged us to experiment by pairing sake with local dishes. Sake also works well as a base for cocktails – ever heard of the saketini? – but do try savouring its fresh flavours on its own as well.
Come Ride With Me: Sake Bar Crawl
Intrigued by the big, wide world of sake? Curious about sake and want to learn more about the finer points of this fascinating beverage? Go Away invites you to its inaugural Come Ride With Me bar crawl. On this crawl, we’ll take you to three different sake bars around Singapore to sample different varieties of sake.
Best part? You don’t have to worry about drinking and driving, because Volkswagen cars will be on hand to chauffeur you from one bar to another! Here are the details of this event:
Date: Thursday, October 1, 2015
Registration fee: $15 (inclusive of three sake samplers)
To register for this event, please email your name, contact details, IC number, and number of seats you’d like to register for to email@example.com. Slots are limited to keep the sessions cosy and intimate so hurry and lock down your slot asap.
13 Dec 2016
05 Dec 2016