Whether you’re in Japan or want to enjoy sake anywhere else in the world, it’s better to know about the taste and flavor beforehand. Once you know what to expect, you can really get to enjoy the traditional beverage.
So, if you plan on trying sake anytime soon or are just curious about it, here’s a comprehensive guide that helps you navigate these uncharted waters.
What Is Sake?
Sake is an alcoholic beverage that is made with rice. Seems surprising, right? Sake is different from beer and other alcoholic drinks because the process of converting starch into alcohol happens in one-go unlike beer, where the starch first turns to sugar and then to alcohol.
What Does Sake Taste Like?
Most people like sake because it has a mild and sweet flavor. It has a combination of well-balanced savory flavors.
This means it isn’t as harsh as spirits and also doesn’t have the strong flavor that beer offers. As for the aftertaste, sake doesn’t have a stubborn taste. The flavor does linger on your palette, but it goes away soon.
Does Sake Go Bad?
Since sake doesn’t have any preservatives, it can easily go bad if it doesn’t get proper care during storage. The fermentation process makes sure that sake lasts a long time but to ensure its long life, you have to store it in optimal conditions.
If you think sake has gone bad, all you need to do is taste it. The beverage will have a pungent smell, which is a clear indication that it is unsafe to consume the batch of sake.
How to Pick Out Sake
As long as you know what you like, picking out sake isn’t a complicated process. There are three factors you should consider.
Aroma: You can choose the fruity aroma’s sake or go for the one that has a milder version. If you re a starter, a milder taste is better for you.
Aftertaste: There are some sakes that leave a mild after taste, but you can also opt for sake, which has a strong after taste.
Body: The taste of some sakes is strong, which means they are full-bodied. Light bodied ones have clean flavors and most starters prefer them because they are easier to drink.
Just use these three factors to evaluate the types of sake and choose the one that you like.
How to Store Sake
Since sake is perishable, it’s best to drink it while it is still fresh. However, you have to store it to facilitate the fermentation process.
Here are a few tips to help you store sake properly so that it doesn’t go bad. Always store the sake in a cool place that is away from direct sunlight. If you keep it in direct sunlight, the taste and quality of the sake will suffer.
So, the way you store sake will help you answer the question about what does sake taste like.
How to Drink Sake
- To get the best taste and flavor, you have to boil some water. Pour it in a ceramic bowl.
- Pour the sake into a tokkuri. It is a traditional ceramic vessel used to serve sake.
- Place the tokkuri in hot water you took out in the ceramic bowl.
- After a few minutes, when the sake is hot enough, take out the tokkuri.
- Wrap a napkin around the ceramic vessel and pour sake.
- You have to drink sake in small sips because it’s very strong.
- You can also try sake chilled because that provides a completely different flavor.
Types of Sake
The taste of sake depends on the ratio of the polished rice. The cleaner the rice is, the savorier the sake will be. The ratio of the polished rice in a sake means how much of the rice grains remain after completing polishing.
- Junmai Daiginjo
- Junmai Daiginjo
- Tokubetsu Junmai
- Tokubetsu Honjozo
The Bottom Line
So, if you are in the mood for an alcoholic drink with a twist, it is time you give sake a try. I didn’t know much about it when I first tried it, which damped the experience for me a bit.
But you can make sure that doesn’t happen for you. So now you know the answer to ‘what does sake taste like’ so make the best use of this knowledge!