Sake Season - Holiday Cheers
Ahhhhh - that time of year again! The pressure cooker known as "gift giving season." Go overboard and you look like one of those "super gift givers" who expect large returns or you never hear the end of it - or go too light and risk the chance of looking like an "el cheapo." Where do you draw the line? What's too much? What's not enough? And when did gift giving become such a socio-economic indicator of the kindness of mankind?
We at True Sake say don't crumple under the pressure - stand up and be proud of your gifting "quantity" and "quality"! Basically sake is a perfect gift. From the office $20 Secret Santa present exchange gift to that one-of-a-kind present for your soon-to-be-father-in-law. From the stocking stuffer to the lil'sumpthin for your best friend - sake is a can't miss - sure thing.
But what to get - that is the question? In-store Sake Elves Miwa and Lynette have compiled each of their own "top ten sakes" in the store that best convey the concept of a "cool gift!" And they did not know what the other elf selected! Here are their recommendations during this truly confusing time of year:
Miwa's Top 10 Holiday Gift Sakes (In alphabetical order)
- "Classic Beauty"
Daishichi Minowamon Junmai Daiginjo "The Gate"
$80 / 720ml / Boxed
- "Drinkability #1"
Haguro Genzo Tokkuri Honjozo
$35 / 720ml / Boxed
Kirinzan Junmai Daiginjo "Krin Mountain"
$160 /1.8L / Boxed
$65 / 720ml / No box
- "Great Bottle, Great Box"
Kokuryu Junmai Ginjo "Black Dragon"
$30 /720ml / Boxed
- "Ultra Cool, Ultra Minimalistic"
Jokigen Junmai Ginjo
$29 / 720ml / No box
- "Hidden Treasure"
Juyondai Junmai Ginjo "The Fourteenth Generation"
$90 / 720ml / Boxed
- "Best First-Timer Sake"
Miyasaka Junmai "Yawaraka"
$22 / 720ml / No box
- "History in the Bottle"
Sawanoi Iroha Kimoto Junmai
$44 / 720ml / Nice green bag
- "Once-a-Year Treat"
Shichionyari Shizuku Junmai Daiginjo "The Seven Spearsmen"
$ 80 / 720ml / Boxed
- "The Professional"
Sogen Junmai "Pride of Samuarai"
$30 / 720ml / Boxed
$52 / 1.8L / Boxed
Lynette: "10 holiday buys I recommend...for packaging"
- Haguro Genzo Tokurri - Honjozo
In replica ancient pot with box
- Tomio Junmai - Daiginjo
In round bottle with box
- Kamotsuru "Gold Flake" - Junmai Daiginjo
In round clear bottle with huge box
- Kotsuzumi Junmai Daiginjo
Italian Hand-blown bottle with corkscrew in box
- Hatsuhana - Junmai
Twist-shaped bottle with clear box that includes a gift card
- Azen brown rice - "Koshu" Aged sake
In amazing red box and great bottle
- Hisui "Red Rice" - Junmai Ginjo
Red fluid sake in clear bottle with box
- Tsukasa Botan "Fu-In" - Junmai Ginjo
In stylish black bag
- Kaika - Daiginjo
In amazing round bottle with wood crate
- Kirinzan - Daiginjo
Amazing shaped blue bottle with box
$160 /1.8L $65 / 720ml / No box
10b. A case of Kikusui Funaguchi (the little cans for $5) ..because it's fun!
Great ideas from the Sake Elves! I will now add a few more that one may ponder on that ever-so-treacherous road to gift giving success:
- Shirataki "Sara Wind" Junmai $25/500ml.
Yes, this is one of the top "eye-catching" gift giving sakes! Sara Wind comes in a really cool frosted clear bottle and also has a glass sake cup as a cap. But when you tie this entire package in a bandana, look out! The sake is extremely user-friendly and is a cannot miss Junmai brew that appeals to all. A very cool stocking stuffer.
- Umenishiki "Red Box" Junmai Dai Ginjo $82/720ml.
This is one of the tried and true gift giving sakes in Japan. In fact the brew is known as "The Red Box" because it comes in a really fine massive red velvet box. The best part about this sake is that it is superb! It's not just another pretty sake face. It is the real deal and those who know sake know this gift!
- Shichi Hon Yari "Shizuku" Junmai Daiginjo $77/500ml
Amazing sake in an amazing package. This trickle/gravity pressed sake is very limited and judging by the flavor you should jump at the opportunity to get this brew to friends and family members who love complexity in an extremely beautiful clear bottle in a box with velvet!
- Yuki no Bosha "Cabin in the Snow" Junmai Ginjo $16/$300ml
This is the perfect sake stocking stuffer! A very clean small frosted square bottle is filled with some kick-ass Ginjo sake that speaks to those who love big fruit! A great "little" gift that keeps you under the "Secret Santa" limit of $20.
- Tamanohikari Reishu "Adult Juice Box" $8/300ml.
Come on! Who wouldn't love to get a juice-box looking sake in a Tetra-pak that is perfect to sneak into movies or concerts? This "box" sake is delicious chilled and is also made for freezing into a sake slush. When you get caught (which you won't) you can blame True Sake for selling you an "Energy Drink."
- Tenzan Junmai Genshu "Bottle in Leaf Wrapper"
$16/300ml and $34/720ml Yes this sake is all about packaging as each bottle is wrapped in a beautiful brown leaf and has a sideways bold red label that just pops. A very drinkable and hearty brew that speaks to red wine drinkers. Looks cool and drinks great! Get a little bottle for the giftee and a big bottle for yourself!
- Bunraku "Gold Flake Sake" $16/300ml
Bunraku "Hand Puppet" Junmai Ginjo $16/300ml
Bunraku "Yamahai" $15/300ml
Some breweries know sake - some know packaging - and some know both! This brewery has three great sakes in very distinguished bottles - tear dropped and square! These are can't miss sakes and are bound to be one of those "talked about gifts."
- Kamenokou 14 Ultra Junmai Dai Ginjo $500/720ml
This is THE ONE for any sake drinker of note. There are only 200 bottles in existence and True Sake has the only offerings outside of Japan. A sake that is milled to 14%. Either you get it or you don't. One of a kind sake. Comes in a huge wood box and is pure style! For those who have everything - well almost!