November 2006

Thanksgiving Challenge - Sake and Turkey?

Posted by Beau Timken in 2006, Newsletter, November, Sake Challenge

In the classic coming of age movie "Risky Business" a young Tom Cruise finds himself hiding behind his front door with a rather large transvestite prostitute on the other side. Young Tom was hoping for a different sort of prostitute when the other fellow appeared. Sensing that his potential client was desiring a different sort of lady of the evening the courteous professional asked Tom to open the door so that he could A) call a cab, and B) give Tom (whose name in the flick was Joel) the phone number of somebody who might better suit his needs. Joel hesitated and kept from opening the door. At which point in a low but very secure voice the transvestite said "Joel, be a man. Open the door."


This November Newsletter represents the 3rd year in a row that I have asked you good readers to consider supplementing sake for your typical Turkey Day libation. Two years ago I "dared" the readers to integrate sake into this very American holiday occasion. And last year I flat out begged


The funny thing is that I have been working so hard to get people to grasp the concept that sake need not be that rubbing alcohol jet fuel hot plonk that they are so used to in a hot sake, and if fact it is quite soft, light and filled with nuance. That was the easy sell, and now I have to wheel the big ship back the other way to show that not all sakes are soft, clean and easily overwhelmed by flavors such as cranberry, gravy, or garlic. Sake has balls when it needs to, and there are a ton of really unique and flavorful brews that go so perfectly with the "T-bird." (Hell, we even have a fantastic nihonshu (sake) to go with a Tofuty-bird)I look for a robust acidity when I pair with meat, game or fowl. Add to that butter and other mouth filling flavors I like sakes that have some staying power in terms of flavor. I select fatter sakes that fill the mouth, rather than the light clean ones that fire right through the palate. Think meaty sakes for meaty flavors, and also use a larger glass than usual to mix up that acidity. Go with your big reds glasses, and don't worry about the next day big reds hangovers.

Sake is really a slam dunk this Thanksgiving, and to make it even more easy I will hang little turkeys around the necks of the sakes that excel with the bird in the True Sake store. By all means phone in - 415.355.9555 - and we will shout these out. Give the rice drink a shot at your mom's potatoes or you Aunt's version of "deep fried Turkey." You will not be disappointed. Here are "Five To Try" and they are in alphabetical order:


  1. Hiraizumi Yamahai Junmai
  2. Kikuhime Yamahai Junmai
  3. Masumi Yamahai Junmai Ginjo
  4. Taiheizan Kimoto Junmai
  5. Tenzan Junmai Genshu"


So basically this year I am asking you all to "Be a man!" (or Woman) and go for it. Throw sake to the lions and watch how well it performs. There isn't a fowl alive that cannot be paired with nihonshu. I will add 5 more sakes that are new this year that will also stand up to that overcooked underjuiced slab of white sandpaper that your father calls his "best bird ever.


1. Narutotai Nama Ginjo Genshu

2. Kasumi Tsuru Yamahai Ginjo

3. Born Muroka Junmai Dai Ginjo Nama Genshu

4. Tsukasabotan Junmai Dai Ginjo Shizuku

5. Otokoyama Junmai Genshu


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