Sake
 

What is JIZAKE ? - Learn about Jizake

Sake is the essence of traditional Japanese culture. Now, the culture of Japan can be enjoyed in a variety of ways through Sake cocktails. Because Sake is a gentle and delicate mixer, easily and harmoniously blending an earthy dry, yet delicate flavour it has become the latest trend all around the world. With there being several varieties of body, flavor, and distinct characteristics, the popularity of Sake as well as Sake cocktails will continue to grow.

What is JIZAKE ?

JIZAKE, literally meaning "regional or local sake", is premium imported sake brewed by independent micro-breweries often located in rural countrysides of Japan.Rather than brewed through technology based mass production, Jizake is brewed by a brewmaster or Toji, using production methods that have been used for hundreds of years. This tradition of production and geographic locations of the brewery or Kura, is what gives Jizake its unique flavor and aroma characteristics.

The best area to brew Jizake are those regions that contain high quality rice and water conditions. Such as Niigata, Fushimi, or Nada where each of these regions supply the most suitable water or rice for brewing.

To maintain its high quality, Jizake Kura limit their production and only brew in small amounts. This causes an increase in demand for premium Jizake which is why their is a long waiting list for Jizake customers.

The Unique Characteristics of Sake

Health-Friendly Drink(Over-Drinking is an Exception!)
Health-Friendly Drink: With reasonable consumption, Sake can be a very health-friendly drink. Sake can prevent high blood
pressure, relieve stress, lower the risk of cancer, and help skin care.

Drink Sake as You Like It. Chilled, Room-Temperature, or Hot.
Sake has the widest range of drinking temperatures than any other alcoholic beverage. With one bottle, you can enjoy Sake hot,
cold, or at room-temperature. All of which will give you a different taste.

Pairing with Any Types of Cuisines.
Sake brings out the delicious taste of any cuisine. It also helps hide the scent of dishes with strong aromas such as fish.

Variety of Taste due to Brewing Methods and Localities.
Sake has a wide variety of tastes due to the different types of rice, water, weather as well as region.

Sake Brewing Process

Sake is usually made from rice. The following chart is the Sake Brewing process.


Jizake making season starts in the fall and goes on into the winter months. Sake rests through spring in storage tanks until past the summer when it's finally bottled and shipped. This yearly schedule is predicated by the Toji who, early in history, were rice farmers simply moonlighting as Sake brewers during the winter and post summer down months.

Toji is the boss who manages the entire Sake brewing process. Historically, the Toji lives at the Kura until he grows old and hand appoints a sole successor to carry on his tradition along with many proprietary secrets.

Sake Ingredients

Sake Rise
Sakamai is used exclusively for Sake production. Sakamai is a much more delicate plant requiring more water, nutrients and protection from harsh weather conditions, thus is very expensive to grow. Niigata is the rice growing capital of Japan for table rice, however, most Sakamai is grown elsewhere in limited areas throughout Honshu Island.

Water
Sake consists of 80% pure water, where the mineral configurations greatly affect the outcome. Semi-hard water is most suitable, found in the renowned Sake producing regions of Japan: Fushimi in Kyoto Prefecture, Nada in Hyogo Prefecture, Hiroshima Prefecture and Niigata Prefecture. Laboratory analyses have proven that the water used in sake possess various beneficial properties that enhance flavor and quality.

Koji
Koji is steamed rice inoculated with the powerful Aspergillus Oryzae microbe, and is the same ingredient used in making soy sauce and Miso. When combined with rice, Koji breaks up the long chain of starch molecules into fermentable sugars, which ordinarily yeast alone can not.

Sake Terminology

JUNMAI
Made with only rice, water and koji mold. The rice is polished down to 70%. Full bodied with good acidity. Naturally brewed with no added distilled alcohol.

GINJYO
Brewed with labor-intensive steps using rice polished down to 60% and fermented at colder temperatures for longer periods of time. It has a smooth taste and flowery aroma.

JUNMAI GINJYO
Brewed with labor-intensive steps, rice polished down to at least 60% its original size. It has a light fruity flavor with a soft sweet aroma.

DAI GINJYO
A subclass of ginjyo brewed with rice polished down to 50%. Brewed using more labor intensive methods to bring out its best qualities. Generally light, complex and quite fragrant.

JUNMAI DAI GINJYO
A subclass of junmai ginjyo, brewed with rice polished down to 50%. Generally light, complex and fragrant.

TOKUBETSU JUNMAI
Note also Tokubetsu Junmai-shu, or "Special Junmai-shu," which merely indicates more highly polished rice, or the use of very special sake rice.

HONJOZO
Made with rice, water, koji, and a small amount of distilled alcohol. Rice is polished to 70%. Usually very light. Often served warm.