For years Americans only knew cheap, mass produced sake.
College kids dropped shots of it into pints of Kirin, yelling “sake bomb!” to no one in particular, or sipped hot, boozy versions at equally bad sushi bars, but swore off the stuff for years afterwards, assuming all sakes were equally astringent.
Perception is a problem too. Americans have a misconception of what sake is. Many believe it is a spirit, distilled, with high strength alcohol, but In actuality sake is brewed in a manner very similar to beer.
In fact, Sake is essentially a wine made from fermented rice – and like wine, it has 14 to 20 percent ABV , and like wine, Sake has fruit, floral, and cereal flavors and aromas, and It can be rich or it can be delicate and complex.
Currently the ancient Japanese beverage is in the midst of a major revival across the United States. Nuanced sakes are served at bars and in taprooms, and restaurants where they previously weren’t poured. More and more Domestic craft distillers. are emerging, and imports continue to improve.
Chris Pearce, the organizer of the annual Joy of Sake exhibition, told Forbes Magazine earlier this year, that 89 percent of sakes imported to America now qualify as “premium,” or don’t have added alcohol. “They’re clean and they’re not cloying,” he said.
Premium sakes are featured prominently at the Tokyo Record Bar, a Japanese-inspired izakaya in New York Greenwich Village. Within a one-mile radius sits Bessou, which pairs a considerable sake program with Japanese comfort foods, and longstanding favorite Blue Ribbon Sushi, where servers pour 37 sakes.
But nearby in Providence, Rhode Island, James Beard Award nominee Benjamin Sukle pairs a sake with one of four courses at Birch, his 18-seat New American chef’s counter that celebrates the New England bounty in such courses as squash with fava beans, rock crabs, or grilled Rhode Island duck with chicories and beach plums.
At the James Beard-nominated Catbird Seat restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee, they frequently suggest sakes to pair with experimental New American tasting menus, but say that takes a bit of explaining to guests who don’t expect to be offered it.
This could change as more sakes are available and accessible to diners looking to pair drinks with meals. Sakes make versatile food pairings because they contain less acidity than wine, and have amino acids that increase “umami” in the savory dishes of every Cuisine.
As national tastes continue to evolve, sakes could go the way of rosé, mezcal, or countless other food and beverage imports we have enthusiastically adopted and embraced.
Hunter, at tthe Cellar is tapped into the trend, and today, from 4.30 – 6.30 pm, there will be a Sake Tasting at the Cellar. So if you are planning to go Geocaching at Rio Fernando Park later, I’d suggest dropping by here prior – a sip or two of Sake will make treasure hunting much more fun!
TODAY 4.30 – 6.30 pm at the Cellar at Cid’s! Bring your ID.
For more information on the Cellar, please visit their site linked below.
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