Sake 101 with Sake Som­me­lier Eiji Mori

Luxe Beat Magazine - - Contents - By Jill Wein­lein Epi­cure

Sake is an el­e­gant bev­er­age to sip with Ja­panese cui­sine dur­ing a spe­cial meal or fes­tive cel­e­bra­tion.

In­no­va­tive Din­ing Guide (IDG) em­ploys three sake ex­perts to guide guests in their up­scale Sushi Roku restau­rants in Hol­ly­wood, Santa Monica, Pasadena and Las Vegas and their West Hol­ly­wood Katana restau­rant.

IDG’S Sake Som­me­lier Eiji Mori shared 10 in­ter­est­ing facts vabout sake: 1. Sake is made from fer­mented rice, but the rice is not the same grain that one would eat. It’s a spe­cial rice that is larger, stronger and con­tains less pro­tein and lipid than or­di­nary rice.

2. To make sake, the outer lay­ers of the rice grain and bran are pol­ished off to ex­pose the cen­ter. The more that is ex­posed, the purer the fin­ished sake will taste.

3. There are three lev­els of sake. The daig­injo is the pre­mium, then ginjo and last, jun­mai. 4. Cold sake is bet­ter for pair­ing with food, es­pe­cially sushi, then hot “sake bombs.” Heat­ing can ob­scure the qual­ity of the sake, and af­fect one’s taste buds.

5. While many peo­ple liken sake to wine be­cause it is of­ten called “rice wine,” it is ac­tu­ally more sim­i­lar to beer. Sake is not made from fruit. Sake is made from a grain and the starch is con­verted into sug­ars be­fore be­ing con­verted to al­co­hol.

When pair­ing sake with food, Eiji rec­om­mends sushi or sashimi with daig­injo sake. This sake is pure, light and of­fers clean notes that com­ple­ment the del­i­cate fish with­out over­pow­er­ing it.

7. Acidic dishes are best to pair with the crisp, fruit-for­ward fla­vors of a ginjo grade sake. At Sushi Roku, the salmon Carpac­cio with soy truf­fle olive oil is a good dish to enjoy with a ginjo sake.

8. Cooked or fried dishes pair nicely with jun­mai grade sake, be­cause the sake has a bit more body and can hold up against heartier el­e­ments. Jun­mai pairs well with Sushi Roku’s Ja­panese Fried Chicken “Tat­suta-age.”

9. West Hol­ly­wood’s Katana Restau­rant on the Sun­set Strip is cel­e­brat­ing its 18th an­niver­sary this year and is offering pri­vate la­bel sake bottled ex­clu­sively for guests din­ing in the restau­rant.

10. World Sake Day is Oc­to­ber 1. It’s a 1,000 year old an­nual tra­di­tion held in Ja­pan that serves as a trib­ute to the bev­er­age and kicks off the coun­try’s sake pro­duc­tion sea­son.

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