Sake Guide: Basics

New to sake? Learn and understand a little more about sake through our sake guide as we try to walk you through the basics of sake as simple as possible. You don't have to be a sommelier to enjoy sake! 

What is Sake 

What is sake and ingredients to make sake
First of all, what we know as sake is also known as nihonshu (日本酒) or seishu (清酒) in Japan and on your sake bottles. So do look out for  "日本酒" or "清酒" next time you are dining out in Japan as some places might not serve the sake you are expecting. 

Sake is mainly made up of rice, water, rice koji, and yeast. Each playing a part in the quality of the sake produced.

Rice Polishing Ratio
Sake Guide: Rice Polishing Ratio

Japanese sake is made with rice that has been polished down. The rice polishing ratio is the percentage of the rice that remains after the outer layer of the genmai is polished off. The husk and outer layer contain more protein and fats than the inner portion of the grain which can produce undesirable aromas and negative flavors in sake.

A lower ratio means that more of the rice surface has been polished away, leaving the sake made with such rice to be of a cleaner and lighter-bodied as compared to sake made with a higher polishing ratio.

Sake Classification
Sake Guide: Sake Classification Types of Sake

The classification of sake can be split mainly into two groups: pure rice (junmai) and alcohol-added sake. 

Pure Rice (junmai, 純米) sake is made solely from rice and there is no addition of distilled alcohol or additives during the brewing process. 

Sake Meter Value (SMV) 
Sake Guide: Sake Meter Value; dry or sweet

The SMV determines whether a particular sake would taste dry or sweet. Do look out for 日本酒度 on your bottle to determine the SMV and select a sake according to your preference.

So now that you know a little more about sake, pick out a sake (or two!) using our guide. Kanpai! 🍶

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