In its home country, Japan, sake is enjoyed in different ways, more or less formal. Given that sake is around 15% alcohol, the way to enjoy it is very similar to wine.
Sake may be enjoyed as an aperitif and during the meal, especially in restaurants called "Izakaya". Izakaya could be compared to wine or tapas bars. In these places, sake is accompanied by small dishes called "o-Tsumami" or "Sake-no-sakana", literally "fish for the sake". These are small bites from a counter cuisine which are offered depending on the sake that one has chosen to explore.
To wet your appetite, some examples of sake-no-sakana! In the order, karahage Chicken, skate wings, monkfish liver, roasted peppers, chicken yakitori, stuffed lotus roots, and grilled oysters.
In a more formal situation, sake can be appreciated during a traditionnal Japanese dinner with great cuisine called "Kaiseki". In this case, preparations is exquisitely researched and refined, giving the opportunity to taste very good things, like sake Ginjo, Daïginjo, Namazakes, and others.
Timing is important, but also the type of sake that is tasted. In general, good quality sake is best consummed cold or at room temperature. However, many are excellent warm or hot. The tradition of hot sake is normally reserved for the winter period, from the beginning of winter to the first lights of spring.
For each product in our catalog, we will indicate the optimum drinking temperature. Here below these temperatures, with their names in Japanese.
The very nice thing with Japanese sake is that it can be served in all kinds of containers which vary, depending on the occasion.
To really enjoy a pure tasting, it is ideal to use a white wine, or Porto glass. But sake is traditionally drunk in small bowls called "choko" or "guinomi". Sometimes in kind of wooden boxes called "masu"; a glass is placed inside of the masu, and is generously filled until it overflows into it, a sign of welcome... and a way to encourage your guest to relax!
For hot sake, a ceramic container is used, with a lid to it keep its temperature. A grilled fugu fin ("hirezake), is often placed within. This gives sake a very pleasant smoky note. We recommend this in the winter.
Fortunately, sake can be appreciated in many other ways, and goes perfectly with many accompaniments that are not necessarily Japanese. So, no need to be a cooking expert or to travel to Japan to discover subtleties of sakes.
Sake is perfect as an aperitif. Light, refreshing, it awakens the appetite. You can accompany it with ham, vegetables, or seafood.
As a starter, with oysters or foie gras.
During the meal, food-pairings are very varied. Of course with fish, but also meat, including grilled meats (and cooked vegetables), which are magnificent with the richer style of Yamahai sakes, for example. In reality, sake is a beautifully companion of modern cuisine, in which one seeks to highlight the intrinsic quality of ingredients. Cooked with little or no fat, preparations are lighter, and marry perfectly with the finesse and low acidity of Japanese sake.
For dessert, the soft heart of sake, resulting from the transformation of rice starch, complements the sweetness of a fruit tart or a chocolate dessert.
There are many cocktails elaborated with sake. One of the best known is certainly the Kaipisake, created in Brazil.
Here a series of cocktail made by Romain Tritsch, head barman at La Reserve, in Ramatuelle.
Recipes for these cocktails are available here to download.
A simple recipe cocktail that works very well, is to mix sake with seasonal fruits as seen in this video.
Unopened, a bottle of sake can be kept for several months or even years, if kept away from light, and in a cool place. Once opened, it is recommended to keep the bottle in your refrigerator, and drink the bottle winthin a week to 10 days.
A special kind of sake called "Koshu" can be aged in casks, or in vats. The taste is evolving to gain in density and smoothness. We invite you to discover this category of sake.