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How to Drink Sake Like a Pro

October 15, 2017


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Hello everyone!

When we were in Aizu Wakamatsu, we shot a couple of videos. The first one was our guide on How to Use a Japanese Hot Spring, and today we have our second video, hopefully equally as helpful. Today, we’re going to give you an introduction to Sake, and hopefully get you to a level where you’re comfortable ordering sake for yourself.

Not that this video will be enough for you to feel fully comfortable with sake. You’ll need to drink a lot of if yourself until you find something you’re comfortable with. Hell, even for us, we’ve been drinking wine for a good part of our adult lives, but I still only know a few things about it: don’t buy the cheapest wine, and make sure the year on the bottle isn’t the current year. There is, of course, loads more nuance to wine, and lots of flavour profiles you can experience and in some small degree taste, just as there is for sake. Hopefully we’ll give you a bit of an idea what to look out for when you’re trying sake on your own.

The sake we had today was from the Suehiro in Aizu Wakamatsu. I’m not sure how highly regarded it is in the sake world, the way that I know a DRC wine is very well respected, but I do know this: we brought some bottles of sake back as souvenirs for our neighbours. One of them told me afterwards that it’s the best sake they ever had in their entire lives, and they’re a middle aged Japanese man, so I’m assuming he’s had a lot more than we had. In other words, we’re showing you some of the good stuff today.

If you want to try any of these sakes on your own, here are the bottles we tried today, with some links. The old bottle we tried isn’t for sale, but we have the information of it anyway, just in case you’re curious!

Sake Breakdown

1: 古酒 純米大吟醸 1989
English name: Koshu Junmai Daiginjou
Type: Junmai Daiginjou from 1989!

2: 大吟醸 玄宰 – Daiginjou Gensai
Type Daiginjou

3: 伝承山廃純米 末廣 – Denshou Yamahai Junmai Suehiro
Type: Junmai

4: ひやおろし純米吟醸原酒 – Hiyaoroshi Junmai Ginjou Genshu
Type: Junmai Ginjou Genshu (unfiltered)
If ordinary sake is considered as an adult, this is Junior High level.
Usually 1 year for maturation, but this is half a year

5: 微発泡酒ぷちぷち – Bihappoushu Puchi Puchi
Put Puchi means sounds of the bubble)
Sakagura Champagne, its carbonated Sake

Yeah! So that’s it for our Aizu Adventures. We had a wonderful time there. If you’d like to visit Aizu-Wakamatsu on your own, you can check out their site, or you can go on a tour to the sake brewery we visited by checking out their site as well.

And lastly, we tried the bubbly sake in our bonus footage, so make sure you check that out below!



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Food Adventure


How to Drink Sake Like a Pro


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  1. I love drinking sake and hope that it continues to become more popular in North America so we can get better choices in the stores. I have a sake etiquette question for you guys: sometimes a restaurant will pour the sake until it overflows into the saucer. What is the correct way to deal with that? Is it considered rude to drink the extra out of the saucer? I would hate to waste that precious deliciousness, especially when I might be paying big money for a high end sake!
    Last time I just went ahead and drank the puddle of booze when no one was looking, figuring since I was in America I could get away with that. What do the Japanese do?

    3 years ago
    • MLE

      The sake overflowing into the box (called a masu) is to show the generosity of the restaurant/place you are staying.

      Masu are very important to Japanese culture because they were used to measure out rice back in the day, when it was also used as a form of currency. While some places may vary, it is usually considered okay to drink the extra sake. Since pouring that much is a relatively recent custom (I believe dating from the first or second world war?) there is no set custom.

      3 years ago
  2. I’ve tried a few times to get into sake but haven’t managed it yet. I’m sure this video will be helpful the next time I decide to give sake a try. I’m especially looking forward to trying a sparkling sake! Just curious, do you guys have any feelings or knowledge about cloudy sake? I’ve tried it a few times but I can’t get over how thick it feels in my mouth. It’s like drinking whole milk :(

    3 years ago
  3. Am i the only one who stared at martinas earrings the entire time ;D And omg Inokichi looks sooo much like a japanese version of my grandpa!

    3 years ago