I’ve loved sake since before I could drink. When I was a kid, we always went out for sushi on special occasions. At the time we were living in Wisconsin, where it didn’t seem like many 8-year olds liked raw fish. I remember once a teacher asked what everyone’s favorite foods were. The answers ranged from pizza to chicken nuggets. My answer? Sushi, caviar and lobster. Apparently I was a food-snob before fourth grade.
Anyway, there was this beautiful restaurant we’d go to where you got your own little booth and took off your shoes and sat on the floor. I loved the ritual of it. We’d wash our hands with warm cloths and pour over the menu. I loved saying the names of different items. “Negi hamachi maki” I’d proudly order. Anyway… (I’m getting caught up in the memory here) my parents would usually get a little carafe of steaming hot sake. It seemed so adult to me, and way cooler than beer or wine.
Years later, in college, I was friends with a guy who had his very own sake set, which I thought was pretty cool. One day, and I don’t even think it was a special occasion, he gave me one of my own. I still have it, tucked away on an upper shelf with the beautiful sushi dinner set my mom let me steal from her.
Yesterday, before a night out on the town, Tanya and Marek came over for some sake.
Tasting sake is actually quite similar to tasting wine. Or tasting anything. But there are some different things you want to look for. Serious Eats has a pretty good basic sake tasting guide.
Gekkeikan Sake: Tasted Warm
It was a cold, rainy night yesterday, which seemed the perfect time to drink warm sake. To warm it, you just have to boil water and then place the sake carafe (I bet there’s a real name for that…) into the water for a few minutes.
Sake should be clear, or close. If it isn’t, it may be a bad sign. According to UrbanSake’s FAQ, sake is meant to be consumed “young and fresh”. This one looked good!
The smell part was tough for me. It smelled like… sake. It was slightly astringent smelling, and maybe a little earthy. This would have been easier without a stuffy allergy nose.
There is nothing else on earth like a warm tiny cup of sake. It warms the soul. And the body. This one was smooth and balanced. I almost felt like it would taste as astringent as it smelled, but it went down easily. I don’t have much to compare this bottle to, as I don’t drink sake very often, but everyone’s first impression was very good.
I love sake and this one met my expectations. I’d like to learn more about sake and taste another bottle in the near future. Any experts out there willing to teach me?