August 2010

Sake Buzz - That Mysterious Feeling

Posted by Beau Timken in 2010, August, Newsletter
Smiley Face You hear a lot of comments about sake when you work the floor at True Sake. A lot! But I hear one refrain more than most. "I like the buzz I get with sake." Or "Sake gives me the most pleasant and gentle buzz." Or my favorite "The buzz is the best." Okay as a professional I walk right past those comments, but some thoughts are needed on this "buzzing" issue.

Firstly why do people feel different "on sake"? I have several theories on this subject. I will argue that your body is familiar or used to the kick that wine/beer/spirits gives to each and every one of us. Your body knows what it will get after a glass of wine. It is used to it. But sake is different than those other libations and as such your body reacts differently. You feel more buzzy! But perhaps the elevated alcohol content has something to do with it as well. You bet. Likewise sometimes when you drink sake it is in a different setting as in sitting cross-legged on a tatami mat or at a sushi restaurant. And maybe just maybe you drink it faster than other boozes on account of the small "shot" glasses that restaurants feel compelled to serve sake in.

Also most folks first, second, and third sakes are heated brews. And many feel that a heated alcohol enters your bloodstream faster and creates a quicker stimulating feeling. Some would even say that this "buzz" effect is even therapeutic in nature. Hot sake tends to heat us up more quickly, there is no question about that. Is that the "buzz" producer?

There is no question that sake is clean, especially for an alcoholic beverage. This too leads to a lighter softer feeling. Remember (you should see True Sake's window display about this) sake is 80% water. It is pretty easy to wake up in the morning and not feel harsh alcohol effects. But like all boozes - too much is too bad!

Again, as a professional I cannot say "Buy sake because of the great buzz it will give you!" And I am reminded of this by a funny story one of my fellow sake authorities told me about. He was being interviewed by the NY Times and went on in great lengths to speak about all the wonderful aspects of sake. The reporter wrote everything down verbatim. Finally at the end of the interview my friend said in passing that sake also has a great buzz. Done! Finished! Kaput! Fail! The subsequent article featured this fact. "Sake has a great buzz." My buddy to this day is mortified by that interview and is very careful to let others speak about this exciting side effect.

I do know that there is a wonderful sense of euphoria when drinking sake. My brother is convinced that sake is an aphrodisiac. I cannot disprove this! Nor can I prove it. But I can prove that the euphoric feeling from sake is more tempered and less "aggressive" than beer/wine/booze buzzes. It is a cleaner burning fuel, as I like to say!

However you describe your "effect" - buzz / high / etc - remember that sake does make us feel odd and wonderful and you should personally heed this call when you decide to take your "buzz" behind the wheel of an automobile. Because the police are running a new line of advertising, which basically states "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving."

Enjoy the Buzz responsibly!

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