SIZ­ING UP THE BOT­TLES

Men's Health (Singapore) - - GUY WISDOM -

The An­nual Ja­pan Sake Awards, a com­pe­ti­tion spon­sored by Ja­pan’s Na­tional Brew­ing In­sti­tute and Ja­pan Sake and Shochu Mak­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, has been in ex­is­tence since 1911, and of­ten the above-men­tioned most el­e­gant and del­i­cate styles of sake are sub­mit­ted for this pres­ti­gious event. The re­sults of the com­pe­ti­tion can make or break a sake brew­ery’s rep­u­ta­tion and sales vol­umes for each sub­se­quent year.

A typ­i­cal batch of sake pro­duces about 250 stan­dard 720ml bot­tles, uses 1,310 litres of wa­ter and 1,000kg of rice – of which 201kg are koji and 799kg plain steamed rice.

In feu­dal Ja­pan, rice was said to be mea­sured out in a masu, a square cup made of cedar that could hold ap­prox­i­mately 180ml. Af­ter the dis­cov­ery of sake, the drink was con­sumed out of that 180ml cedar masu for cer­e­mo­nial pur­poses. Some bars still serve ni­hon­shu in a masu to gain that aro­matic cedar note.

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