February 2012

Ask Beau - "What is your favorite sake glass?"

Posted by Beau Timken in 2012, Ask Beau, February, Newsletter
Hey! David R from Boston - that's my question!!

Seriously, whenever I visit a brewery or speak with an owner of a brewery I ask to see or what kind of glass they use on their "down" time when they are relaxing. Sometimes they don't get the gist of the question at first and show me some very formal ceramic or glass ware. (Some ceramic pieces that I have held - and even nervously consumed from - were over 200 years old.) Or they will show me gift glasses or ceremonial wares. I say "beautiful" but then ask in a wink wink nudge nudge way meaning that the conversation is off the record! Then they get it.

What's funny is that some of the most influential and respected sake brewery owners in Japan drink out of some of the crappiest glasses that I have ever seen. Ha! It's truly funny, but that is the point - to be relaxed and comfortable enough to drink out of something that makes you feel good. One owner in Kyoto drinks out of a Snoopy glass. One owner in Yamagata drinks from a chipped wine glass. Another owner from Osaka imbibes from a water glass that he "got" on a trip to Italy.

Of course some of the guys and gals never break character and show me their formal tasting cups - larger versions of the little snake-eyed ochokos. (Judging cups) But this makes sense as they more than likely are drinking their own sake and it keeps their tasting consistent. And for the record not one person who I have ever asked this question said a masu (wooden box).

So back to David's question!

My "off the record" glass was a gift from a dear friend and owner of a sushi restaurant here in SF. It wasn't new. In fact it had been used for over a decade at the restaurant. But as I was sipping sake out of it on one of my numerous visits I commented how well it fit in my hand. It was solid and comfortable, and looked cool. It's sort of odd too as it has a bubble textured bottom and a semi-thick rim. And it's actually a sake cup, because it has the printed name and multiple crane images from Sawanotsuru brewery (Our Secret Word Sake for January). He said, "take it." Nooooooooooooo! "Go ahead I have a lot of them!"

I have since obtained several more - presents - and love them dearly. If I were to open a sake pub this would be the glass more than likely.

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 other correspondence should use info @ truesake.com.)

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