Stepping into summer with Akashi-Tai – Always on the lookout for something new to try, the Akashi-Tai, Japanese Sake came as a pleasant surprise, as I am loving the delicate taste.
Sake, also known as Japanese rice wine, is an alcoholic beverage that originated in Japan. It is made from fermented rice, water, and yeast. Available in various styles, ranging from sweet to dry, its flavour profile can vary significantly depending on factors like rice variety, water source, brewing techniques, and yeast used.
Akashi-Tai is the leading Sake available in the UK, with sake drinkers on the rise all over the world. Of true Japanese origin, its premium, artisan sake is handmade in small batches by Toji (Sake Master) Kimio Yonezawa and his close team of trusted craftsmen. Named after its home city, Akashi-Tai’s Sake is produced by a small, independent, family-run brewery that has been preserving Sake Heritage since it came to life in 1856. Using only the highest quality and locally produced ingredients such as Yamadanishiki (considered the noblest rice for sake) and spring water from the Akashi region, the beverage is made by fermenting rice that has been polished to remove the bran.
The Akashi-Tai Tokubetsu Honjozo is a lighter-bodied sake to which the sake master adds a small amount of alcohol prior to the filtering stage. This technique brings out the clean and savoury flavours elicited through the brewing process. Offering a longer and more robust finish, it perfectly complements a multi-course dinner.
Depending on the type of sake and your personal preference it can be served chilled, at room temperature, or gently warmed.
My next question is what to pair it with. Fortunately, due to its unique flavour profile and versatility, sake pairs well with a variety of foods.
Here are some food and drink pairing suggestions:
Sashimi and Sushi: Sake complements the fresh flavours of raw fish, making it an ideal pairing for sashimi and various types of sushi. The clean and crisp taste of sake enhances the natural umami of the fish.
Tempura: The light and crispy texture of tempura dishes, such as tempura vegetables or shrimp, goes well with sake. The drink’s acidity helps cut through the richness of the fried batter.
Yakitori: Grilled skewers of chicken, vegetables, or other meats pair nicely with sake. The charred flavours of yakitori balance well with the clean taste of sake.
Japanese Pickles: Pair with a variety of Japanese pickles, as these add complexity to the overall taste experience.
Edamame: Sake can complement the simple flavours of steamed edamame, making it a delightful accompaniment.
Miso Soup: The mild and savoury taste of miso soup harmonizes with the subtle flavours of sake.
Seafood: Sake complements a wide range of seafood dishes, from grilled fish to seafood hot pots.
Lightly Seasoned Dishes: These also work well, as it allows the sake’s delicate flavours to shine without overpowering the food.
As for pairing with other drinks, it’s generally best to stick to simple, clean flavours that won’t overwhelm the taste of the sake. Water is often served alongside sake to cleanse the palate between sips and to enjoy the full range of flavours in the wine. Some people also enjoy pairing sake with green tea or non-alcoholic beverages that complement the meal without competing for attention.
If you like to mix up your flavours, we have one popular sake cocktail, the “Sake Martini,” which combines the smoothness of sake with the crispness of gin and a touch of sweetness from the vermouth.
2 1/2 oz sake (choose a medium to dry sake for best results)
Chill a martini glass by placing it in the freezer or filling it with ice and water while preparing the cocktail.
In a mixing glass or shaker, add the sake, gin, and dry vermouth.
Fill the mixing glass or shaker with ice cubes.
Stir the mixture for about 20-30 seconds until it is well-chilled.
Discard the ice and water from the martini glass.
Strain the cocktail into the chilled martini glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist or cucumber slice for a refreshing touch.
Enjoy your Sake Martini!
You can adjust the proportions of the ingredients based on your personal taste preferences. Some variations may include adding a splash of fruit juice or flavoured syrup to give the cocktail a unique twist. Feel free to experiment and create your signature sake cocktail!
Sake is a significant part of Japanese culture and has been consumed for centuries in various social and ceremonial settings.