First and foremost, we are not slaves to the Hallmark holiday known as St. Valentine’s Day. But we greatly enjoy and appreciate this loving season that is also a nice reminder to blow a kiss to those you love and/or want to love! In this case, the kiss that we blow is of the rice and water capacity, and we like to focus on the fun of Valentine’s Day, not the pressure.
In this light, we’d like to introduce to you the True Sake Cupids! Each team member will play Cupid for the day to share with you what they think would make a fun sake expression for V-Day! Let’s just say that they are such experts, that these picks are almost “guaranteed” to work whatever love magic you so desire.
Before our True Sake Cupid Picks, take a look in the way back machine to a Valentine’s Day post from 2015 that looked at the real St. Valentine, and how he gifted sake for the first time...
As the only single member in the crew I say, "Cheers!" to all the single people out there! For this Valentine's Day, I will be having Time Machine. Why? Because it's delicious on it's own, as well as with many other treats. Room temp or chilled. I'm planning to crack open the foie gras and other pâté I got on my recent trip to France, along with some gourmet green olives (that I received on my Birthday) and cheeses. And for dessert, I'll drizzle whatever Time Machine is left over on top of vanilla ice cream, while I enjoy a perfect night playing video games. My mouth is watering just writing about it.
On my first date with my wife, I gave her a 300ml bottle of sake. I thought a small, but nice gift would be a fun way to start off the date. I try not to re-do the same gift, but there are a plethora of 300ml sake options out there, so this is a gift where I could essentially, "run it back." Tenbu Junmai only comes in 300ml (in the US at least) and it's a screaming deal for $10 bucks. Milled to 60%, but not labeled as a Ginjo (a trend I'm kind of into right now). Nishi Shuzo in Kagoshima is making fantastic sake, in the land of Imojochu.
Cupid Jason – Katsuyama Junmai Ginjo "Lei"
When I think of Valentine's Day, I picture something sweet. Lei is a fantastic sake with a smooth texture and a nice sweetness that's not too much—just a subtle sweetness with a savory touch. It goes really well with slightly spicy food, so if you're into a bit of heat for Valentine's Day, this is the way to go.
Chocolate Nigori sake is here! This is a perfect drink on Valentine’s Day. You can drink it straight or try to mix it with milk, black tea, or coffee and add whip cream on top. Maybe pour on your ice cream. Enjoy!
When I am asked to pick a bottle for Valentine’s Day, this bottle immediately comes to my mind. Who doesn’t like something sweet and flavorful on this romantic day? The ripe plum-infused sweetness pairs beautifully with different desserts and snacks. It drinks smooth and velvety just as the label’s texture. I like drink it over ice cubes even mix it with chilled soda if I want to reduce the sweetness for a bit. With only 10% ABV, it’s perfect for a joyful mood without getting overboard. If you are in search of a delightful sake for Valentine's Day, this dessert sake is a wonderful choice.
Katafune Ginjo genshu is a BIG and BOLD pick for Valentine's Day. I think this is a brew for a lush, rich, and sexy Valentine's Day with a hearty and heavy meal that is dressed to impress. Also, perfect for the solo Valentine's date with the boozier kick to get you through the day. I think the rich, creamy, molassesey, milk chocolate, cream notes would maybe make it a decent digestif for an after-dinner sipper too!
Nothing pairs better with a warm heart and gushy feelings than a crisp and pleasingly sweet bubbly from Hokkaido Prefecture. Kita no Inaho is a sparkling sake that respects its origins as a rice-based beverage. There are attractive notes of tangerine, ripe stone fruit and yogurt, with a tingly mousse that will tease the palate. Use a flute to enjoy a Valentine’s Day toast with your loved ones and make sure to pair it with those white chocolate covered strawberries you’ve been dreaming about!
Ha! My wife’s Birthday is also February 14th so it’s sort of a thang in our household! But, I like to focus on a learning experience on Valentine’s Day when you can explore some new cuisine or some new libation together. And in this case, my Sake Cupid recommendation is a sake set known as “The Taste of Yamagata.” February 14th is the perfect occasion to try six 300ml bottles of sake made almost exactly the same with the rice varietal being the only difference. How cool is that? To isolate the rice flavors to see what impact that has on the sake knowing that the yeast, mold, and water are all the same is one of the most fun things that you can do in sake! Use the same size wine glass for each brew and then pair them with your Valentine’s Day dinner to see what is the best rice for your day of love!