I don’t know about you, but when I’m trying to decide what to drink during the dog days of summer, the word “refreshing” always comes to mind. I want something cool and crisp and thirst-quenching, something that makes me smack my lips and utter “ah!” after I swallow it.
Yep, I want chilled sake.
FUKUCHO “Seaside” Junmai Sparkling Sake is as fun as it looks. Produced by Miho Imada, who owns the brewery and is also the master brewer (or, Toji) – a rarity in Japan to be both owner and brewer, but Miho is one of the few women in the world to do so.
The secret to her sake is white koji which gives bright lemony-citrus notes, in addition to pear and green apple flavors. Dry and lightly sparkling (from a 2nd fermentation in-bottle), this little gem will wake up your mouth and leave you wanting more. Take one look at the label to figure out what it pairs best with: seafood. An excellent match with Pulpo Gallego (Galician-style Octopus) or crispy Crab Cakes with Remoulade sauce.
BROOKLYN KURA, #14 Junmai Ginjo Namazake
Locally brewed, you can get this sake on tap out and about in NYC, or go straight to the source at the brewery in Industry City. The ‘nama’ in namazake literally translates as “raw,” and since namazake is unpasteurized, it needs to be kept refrigerated to maintain its youthful energy. Fresh and light with aromas of cherry blossom and white peach, with just a whisper of sweetness on the finish. Pair it with Littleneck clams and Herbed Butter or Weisswurst sausages straight from your summer bbq grill. Yum.
SUMIKAWA “Toyo Bijin” Asian Beauty Junmai Ginjo Okarakuchi
I had the good fortune to be invited on a sake tour of Japan in June, and one of my favorite stops on the trip was the Sumikawa brewery in Hagi in the Yamaguchi prefecture. Run by the inimitable Takafumi Sumikawa, this fourth-generation brewer has become one of the most well regarded in the world.
The typical style of sake Sumikawa-san creates is luscious and full – and this sake is the yin to that yang with subtle fruit flavors of ripe honeydew melon and golden apple. Okarakuchi translates as “super dry” and the finish is just that, crisp with spicy-nutmeg note. Serve with Roasted Pork or even grilled Lamb Chops and feel the sake refresh and awaken your palate.
Hopefully, this will be YOUR Summer of Sake, too.
Join us for the WSET Level 1 Sake course on Saturday, October 1 where you can learn about (and taste!) these sake and more !
Kathleen Hall Smith, DipWSET