Japan’s unique alcoholic drink, sake

It’s not brandy, and it’s not wine. It’s sake.

Although more and more of us have heard of sake, most of us still don’t know too much about this traditional Japanese drink. Sake is made with fermented rice, which is why many think of it (incorrectly) as a kind of rice brandy. Sake isn’t brandy, and it isn’t wine; it’s Japan’s totally unique alcoholic beverage.

Sake was first created approximately 2,500 years ago, although the first written references to it are from the 3rd century. Traditionally, it was made only in monasteries and churches, but from the 17th century onward, it was made in special sake breweries. 

Even today, there are still those companies in Japan that date back to the 1700s, and the same family works there as did all those hundreds of years ago.

The ingredients number only three: water, rice and koji mold, which is a mix of rice and a special fermented mushroom. 

During the preparation of sake, a large percentage of the rice grains are removed if they are not quite right and the water quality is also carefully monitored. The Japanese hold local water springs in great esteem, as the mineral-makeup of the water has a great effect on what the end result is like.

It takes several months for sake to be created, and sake is about 16 to 18 percent alcohol. 

Sake is served in a heated ceramic or porcelain flask or cup, and it’s just waiting to be tried.