"Ask Beau" January 2005
Glen in Riverside, California asks: "What's up with flavored sakes and where can I get some?" In hell Glen, that's where you can get them! Just joshing. Flavored sakes are just that sakes that have been infused with different fruit flavors. I cannot speak for the Japanese market, but I will assume that they are few and far between. That said a brewery in California that just closed its doors used to make a line of these infused sakes. They are still available in major grocery stores, but for a limited time I suspect.
I say Glen that if you are infusing something then you are hiding something. The sake itself may not be that good to begin with, as such it makes sense to dress it up. Or in this case dumb it down. People, as I have said, I am all about sake and bringing folks to the sake table, but infused sakes are not really sake and should not be considered so. Sure a bar tender can take a nice sake and whip up a cool cocktail - fine - but to get people to drink sake by adding cherry juice in the brewery? I am not for that!
Glen, there are a myriad of fruit tones in filtered sake. Flavors from honeydew melon to ripe bananas, and from strawberries to cotton candy can be found naturally in sake. Don't go the route of a wine cooler. Try your sake clean and natural. (Lastly, there are a few breweries in Japan who are playing with fruit-based yeasts such as peach that also bring out dramatic flavors naturally.)
Please send your sake specific questions to askbeau2 @ truesake.com. (This address is not for general questions and I only review the questions once per month. All correspondence should use info @ truesake.com.)