Do you drink sake, nihonshu, Japanese Wine? They are different names for the same thing. We had an event lesson in May about Japanese Sake. It was really awesome. So "sake" is fermented(発酵した) rice juice or you can say rice wine. All alcohol is basically a carbohydrates such as fruit juice or a grain that is fermented. Sake happens to be a raw fermentation, meaning they don’t distill it after it ferments. In comparison, whisky, vodka and "shochus" are distilled. So do you know "daiginjo" (大吟醸)? No? It sounds like a super powerful samurai or a honorable title. "Do you have a battle? Yes. Ok wait. Let me get my daiginjo out." It actually means a method of fermentation and rice polishing. Japanese sake rice is polished similarly to how "genmai" or brown rice is polished before eating. "Daiginjo" means the full-grain rice is polished down to 50% or more by weight. It also means that the alcohol is "cold-fermented." This lower temperature fermentation gives more aromas and a more complex flavor. "Ginjo" (吟醸) alone means it is polished down 60% or more. One more common label is "junmai" 純米 which simply means "pure rice." During the mid 20th century, rice was scarce so sake makers added a little liquor to the brewing process. Therefore, a "junmai daiginjo" would be a pure rice sake made from 50% or more polished rice with no added liquor. If you aren’t any of the previous labels, you become a "honjozo" (本醸造). "honjozo" sounds like some sort of low-rank insult. We sampled three sakes at the event: A very sweet -10 Yuki no Matsushima 雪の松島 (raw junmai), a fragrant +1 Houyou 鳳陽 (junmai daiginjo), and a dryer +10 Ichinokura 一ノ蔵(honjozo). I think they were all pretty good, but I am pretty weak too alcohol so I couldn’t try much. Nevertheless learning about sake makes me want to drink sake more. So you should also go out and try all the different "sake" in Japan. Don’t be a "honjozo" and enjoy the flavors! 泉校講師:Jeremy 写真撮影:Jeremy