October 2013

Sake Pairings – Sake and Oysters Oh My!

Posted by Beau Timken in 2013, Newsletter, October
Oyster1Let’s face it, sake crushes wine every day of the week and on a second Monday when it comes to pairing with oysters! I don’t care if you are a Master of Wine, Robert Parker, Marvin Shankin or Robert Mondavi you bring your grape juice to an oyster pairing and I’ll bring my sake and we will see destruction and overwhelming rice and water supremacy. And you can take that to the bank Hank.

It’s quite simple really. A starch based libation works far better with oysters than an overly acidic grape juice. Period! I am so overly confident because I have done extensive sake and oyster pairings over the years and this culminated with a 14 different oyster and sake blow out last night! As we all know oysters can run the gambit from briny and milky to sweet, complex with umami and with are many components in between. Sake never overpowers an oyster like a sharp tight white wine does. That said, the wine may take the vinaigrette a little better, but who uses a vinaigrette? (or the red sauce for that matter – shame on you!) Sake is the perfect wash and also adds subtle flavors and the best is when the oyster subtly changes the flavor of the sake. For example, briny oysters can find a sweetness in some dry and clean Ginjos and Daiginjos.

Now I am not alone in my absolute confidence in pairing sake with oysters. In this regard I asked several experts in the sake world what sakes at True Sake they would bring to an oyster pairing and their recommendations are super solid. So without further adieu, here are some friends recommending brews that crush oysters in a way that wine can not achieve. (In order of returned texts and emails!)


Kazu Yamazaki (Japan Prestige Sake International Importers)

  • Urakasumi Junmai
  • Ohyama Tomizu Junmai

Tamiko Ishidate (Sake Category Manager Young’s Market Co.)
  • Fukucho Junmai Ginjo
  • Taiheikai Tokubetsu Junmai

Shamus Booth (Partner at Umi Restaurant)
  • Tsukasabotan Junmai
  • Koshi no Tousetsuka Junmai Ginjo

Chris Pearce (Partner of World Sake Imports)
  • Dewazakura Dewasansan Junmai Ginjo
  • Tedorigawa Yamahai Daiginjo

Stuart Morris (Partner of Tengoku Sake Importers)
  • Dassai 50 Junmai Daiginjo
  • Shirataki Jozen White Junmai Ginjo

Jessica Furui (Sake director for Ozumo Restaurants)
  • Kuro no Hanna Junmai Daiginjo
  • Tsukinokatsura Junmai Daiginjo Nigori

Takami Fujita (Sake Sommelier)
  • Chokaisan Junmai Daiginjo
  • Gasanryu 'Koka' Honjozo

Beau Timken (Sake Dufus)
  • Kariho Rokushu Junmai Ginjo
  • Tsukasabotan Fuin Junmai Ginjo
  • Akitabare Suirakuten Junmai Daiginjo
  • Esshu Sakura Biyori Ginjo


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