Skip to content
We're open for online orders, store pick up, and same-day door service. (415) 355-9555.
We're open for online orders, store pick up, and same-day door service. (415) 355-9555.

Sake vs. Bird Challenge - 5 Years Later Is Sake On Your Turkey Table?

I was re-reading my November True Sake Newsletter from 2006. Basically I wanted to read what was going on way back then. I wanted to see what was the news of the month and how it may relate today. Of course the emphasis was on November's most popular day, and my Sake vs. Turkey Challenge was the "pre-quil" for today's Sake Challenges.

What is interesting is that 5 years ago I was actually rehashing what I challenged three years earlier. If my math is correct that's 8 years of asking you good folk to add sake to the mix over the holidays. Did you? Have you? Will you?

Herewith is the blurb from 5 years ago:

Thanksgiving Challenge - Sake and Turkey?

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 in 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 (No longer available)
  3. Masumi Yamahai Junmai Ginjo (No longer carry)
  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 (No longer available)
  3. Born Muroka Junmai Dai Ginjo Nama Genshu
  4. Tsukasabotan Junmai Dai Ginjo Shizuku (No longer Shizuku)
  5. Otokoyama Junmai Genshu
Back to 2011 and yes this topic is still very appropriate. Do you still think red wine with your holiday fare? Or white wine with fowl? Does sake even factor in? Take a darn chance! Go for it! And here are 8 more brews to fill out the list. And yes we will hang Lynette's famous turkeys around these bottlenecks as well.
  1. Yuki no Bosha Yamahai Junmai
  2. Tengumai Junmai
  3. Wakatake Junmai Genshu
  4. Kura Kabuto Muroka Junmai Daiginjo
  5. Bishonen Junmai Ginjo
  6. Kiminoi Yamahai Junmai Daiginjo
  7. Kanbara Junmai Ginjo
  8. Tamanohikari Yamahai Junmai Ginjo
Previous article Top TEN List – 10 Medal Winning Sakes From The IWC