Japanese Sake and Shochu

 

 

Sake (Rice wine)

 

Brewed with rice and water, this is a Japanese alcoholic beverage since ancient times.

Because it can be drunk warmed up, intoxication comes on more quickly and in winter it warms the body.

 

 

When drunk cold, good Sake has a taste similar to fine quality white wine.

As a result, there are some kinds of sake that have won prizes when submitted for exhibition at European wine competitions. 

 

Some kinds of sake are mass-produced and sold throughout Japan, however, there are local sake breweries in every region across the country, which make their respective characteristic tastes based on the quality of rice and water and differences in brewing processes.

 

This kind of sake is called “Jizake ” (locally brewed Sake), and has played the main role in the recent Sake boom.

With the alcohol concentration of around 15%, it is comparatively easy to drink, resulting in increasing numbers of female fans.

 

 

 

Shochu (Low-class distilled spirits) 

 

In contrast to Sake, which is brewed, Shochu is distilled liquor.

The technique of distilling was developed in Arabia in the eleventh century and brought to the East in the thirteenth century.

 

The raw materials are mainly wheat, rice, corn and sweet potatoes, and the alcohol concentration is high at about 30 to 45%.

It is not as popular as Sake, but in Western Japan each region has its own Shochu, the most famous being “Awamori“ from Okinawa.

 

 

The law allows the use of Shochu to make plum or apple liquor for home consumption.

 

 

Sweet sake, white sake

 

White, concentrated Sake is called Shirozake.

The manufacturing process is different from regular sake;it is made by blending a sweet kind of sake and low-class distilled spirits with steamed glutinous rice and rice malt.

 

It is not a regular alcoholic beverage; with its sweetness, it is mostly drunk by women and girls on special days like the Doll’s Festival.

Meanwhile, Amazake also has a sweet taste and is served mainly at Shinto shrines for New Year’s and other festivals, and is also drunk in homes in the cold winter.

 

 

This sake is brewed by blending malted rice with rice gruel.

 

 

Yakitori (Grilled chicken)

 

This is Japanese-style barbecue using chicken.

It is the most popular dish when drinking Sake in bars or street stalls.

 

 

Typically, pieces of chicken and Welsh onions are alternately stuck on a skewer, grilled and flavored with a soy-souce based sauce or salt.

Just as beef is divided into parts like sirloin and tenderloin, chicken too is divided into thigh, wing, breast, and so on.

 

 

To “drink over yakitori” after work is so popular that it can be said to be the office worker’s password.