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There’s a reason why everybody is saying that sake is the drink of 2018. Actually, there are a lot of reasons, and one of them is the fact that it harmonies so well with such a wide variety of foods that go way beyond Japanese cuisine.
Speaking of which, you’ve probably tried sake once or twice at a Japanese restaurant and enjoyed it, but never considered ordering it at any other time, right? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. But here’s why you should skip straight to the sake section of the drinks menu when you’re dining out.
First, a quick brewing lesson. Sake is made from sakamai, a special type of rice used just for brewing. The sakamai is polished, which forms part of a process that allows the grains to release that delightful, distinctive umami quality. It’s then fermented using a technique called multiple parallel fermentation, which sounds sciencey and complicated – and it kind of is. But all you need to know is that it’s a technique which is pretty much unique to sake brewing.
Finally, there are five categories of sake: aromatic, aged, rich, smooth and refreshing, and sparkling, each with its own distinct flavours.
So, now you’ve had a crash-course in sake-making, let’s talk food. As we mentioned, sake doesn’t just complement Japanese food – it works brilliantly with a huge range of cuisines from all over the world. Like what? Glad you asked. Here’s an introduction to a few fantastic sake-food harmonies you’ll want to try right away, and really should.