April 2007

Sake Do's and Don'ts - Do Say Ginjo and Don't Say Jinjo!

Posted by admin in 2007, April, Newsletter

sake clubWell since we have already muddied the waters with my pathetic attempt at April Fool's humor - I thought that I would keep the slapstick coming! Herewith is a slippery list of do's and don'ts in the sake world from pronunciation to pouring:

  • Do say Sa-Kay - Don't say Sa-Key
  • Do leave an opened brew in your fridge for months - Don't chuck it out of it tastes a little flat/plucky, rather lightly warm it up to see if that helps. If warming doesn't rescue the moment then nuke that bad boy to surface of Mars temperature levels.
  • Do drink room temperature distilled water before a sake tasting - Don't lick a stamp before a sake tasting that you are being paid to judge!
  • Do heed the call of nature during a sake tasting - Don't use soap on your hands after the visit!
  • Do make an effort to pour sake for your drinking companion - Don't get offended if they say that it is "not necessary" or even a "what are you doing?" * Do look at the bottles in a restaurant if they are presented to see what is opened or un-opened (think in terms of fresh and try the brew with more in bottle!) - Don't always think that the more "empty" bottle is the oldest; it could be simply the most popular.
  • Do order a sake from an "un-opened" bottle - Don't be surprised if it is a more expensive brew.
  • Do prepare a table for a home sake tasting - Don't use a harsh cleaner that smells like a hospital. * Do order a sake in a masu (wooden box) if that makes you feel good - Don't feel compelled to drink your sakes out of a box (wooden or lacquer) if you want to experience the true flavor of the sake, rather ask for a wine glass to pour the brew in. * Do put a fugu (blowfish) fin in your heated sake - Don't put a cinnamon stick in your heated sake.
  • Do say Ginjo - Don't say Jinjo (the G is hard - like saying "gone" - and not soft like the distilled spirit famously added to tonic.)
  • Do use your damn words to describe sake as in it smells "fruity" or tastes like " a jam that mom used to make" - Don't keep saying "I don't know how to describe sake, I am no good at communicating things like that."
  • Do think about getting an "Ishobin" 1.8L bottle, which is 60 fluid ounces of your favorite sake instead of 2 "Yongobins" 720ml bottles, which is only 48 fluid ounces - Don't clear the sustenance out of your fridge to make room for your booze.
  • Do praise sake brewers for a twist-off society - Don't be surprised if and when wine makers take the credit for twist-offs.
  • Do bring a bottle of sake to sushi restaurants - Don't forget to pass a glass or two to the sushi chefs!
  • Do bring a bottle of sake to a non-Japanese restaurant - Don't freak about paying corkage when there is no cork!
  • Do encourage your local wine shop to carry sake or more sake - Don't forget to tell them about True Sake if they have any questions about conditioning or distributors.
  • Do pair sake with your absolute favorite dish that you have perfected - Don't forget to pair sake with your mother's absolute favorite dish that you cannot stand!
  • Do take sake into the hot tub - Don't drink it cold, rather have it room temperature.
  • Do say "kura" (brewery) - Don't say "Sakery"
  • Do read Japanese brewery websites, even if you cannot read kanji, enjoy the picture and click through their inventory - Don't be afraid to send an email to a "kuramoto" - owner of a brewery. Seriously, these folks love hearing from foreigners who love sake, and would answer any questions that you have about sake to the best of their abilities - and of course you may get some Engrish but it's all good!
  • Do play with the temperature of your sakes - Don't run away screaming from hot sake, there are some brilliant sakes to heat up.
  • Do have a "Sake Bomb" if the mood calls - Don't have a "Sake Bomb" if you can enjoy a good clean sake after having a glass of beer.
  • Do take sake as your next "invited to a party gift" - Don't drink the bottle before the host even tries a sip.
  • Do try a blind sake tasting (get 3 or 4 different sakes and put socks over the bottles) and try to pick your favorite. Then cover your eyes and try to find your favorite amongst the remaining brews - Don't stop experimenting with sake!
  • Do close your eyes when tasting a sake (make those other senses work) - Don't get blind drunk
  • Do compliment my gals (Miwa, Lynette, and Tomomi) at True Sake (They do a GREAT job) - Don't stop questioning us about sake!

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