Sake: A beginner’s guide & top recommendations

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If sake is an acquired taste, then the world is divided into two kinds of people: those who have acquired the taste and those yet to acquire it.

Once bitten by the bug, you’ll never look back as a world of unalloyed drinking pleasure opens up before you.

Part of the process is getting to grips with how it is made and its various different grades, but while a little learning can prise the gates to sake heaven ajar, only the taste will fling them open and convert you to the delights of Japan’s national drink.

The basics

Sake just means alcohol in Japan, whereas the rice-based drink that we know as sake is in fact called ‘nihonshu’, Japanese alcohol made from rice. It has been made in Japan for over 1,000 years, but in the form of premium sake such as ginjo, only around 50 years.

If sake is an acquired taste, then the world is divided into two kinds of people: those who have acquired the taste and those yet to acquire it.

Once bitten by the bug, you’ll never look back as a world of unalloyed drinking pleasure opens up before you.

Part of the process is getting to grips with how it is made and its various different grades, but while a little learning can prise the gates to sake heaven ajar, only the taste will fling them open and convert you to the delights of Japan’s national drink.

The basics

Sake just means alcohol in Japan, whereas the rice-based drink that we know as sake is in fact called ‘nihonshu’, Japanese alcohol made from rice. It has been made in Japan for over 1,000 years, but in the form of premium sake such as ginjo, only around 50 years.

Translated by Sylvia Wu / 吴嘉溦

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