Mar 26, 2012

Enjoying sake in various ways

I sometimes drink muroka or muchosei genshu (non-filtered or non-conditioned undiluted sake) after adding some water or some other dry sake to it. This is quite interesting. I quite recently found this way of "processing" sake interesting when I dropped in an izakaya, ordered a muroka namazake (non-filtered non-pasteurized sake) and some dry sake, tasted them together after mixing them, and found mixing two different sakes very interesting.

On the last 20, March, a Japanese national holiday, I received Sawanoi Asagake-no-sake. This sake was special sake sold on a subscription basis, which I had before asked a sake shop to deliver to me.

On that day, I had a short hike on a hill in Ome city, and then visited one of my favorite places, Sawanoi-en. There was the izakaya Sawanosuke, which was a half-open-air sake bar set up in Sawanoi-en. So, I sat there to cure my fatigue from the long walk, and had some beer and sake. After drinking some alcohol, I thought I should skip today's evening drink. However, when I returned home, I found the bottle of Asagake-no-sake had been waiting for me. So, quite naturally, I needed to reward the sake for its having been waiting for me so long by appreciating its taste.

This just-pressed, non-filtered, undiluted sake was still fermenting in its bottle, but since fermentation had not advanced very much, the pressure inside pushed up the cap just slightly when I opened the bottle.

I felt a rich taste and very strong alcohol when I had the first sip. The label on the bottle indicated the alcohol percentage was 19 to 20%. I feel many genshu sakes (undiluted sakes) from this brewery have relatively high alcohol content (when I made umeshu from a genshu of Sawanoi, it had 21 to 22% of alcohol).

On that evening, I drank about 1-go (180 ml) of this sake at a room temperature. Maybe, it will be interesting if I try on the rocks, with water, warmed, or blended with some other sake. I want to try it in many ways.

Today, I provide you the movie showing how I enjoyed the hike I mentioned above. I included the scene where I started walking, departing from Ome Station, to the scene I drank soothing beer at Sawanoioen. This is a relatively long footage of over seven minutes. So, if you have time, enjoy seeing it.

Mar 10, 2012

Drinking sake cool, diluted, and then warmed

Umenoyado Tokubetsu Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu Kimoto (梅乃宿 特別純米無濾過生原酒 生酛) is non-pasteurized sake, which gives a strong impression. It may have too bold but is certainly my favorite sake.

Nonetheless, I tried to moderate its boldness somewhat by adding some water to it. The sake, after water being added, became quite acid and crisp. This was for me very interesting change in taste.

And then, I warmed this sake. First, it tasted sweetish and it seemed that the originally well-balanced sweetness and acidity became more separate from each other and more discernible. However, it turned, when I drank the warmed sake with supper, that this warmed sake could be paired well with various foods.

The taste of one sake varies depending on how you like it. This is interesting.

Mar 8, 2012

Enjoying blend sake

The Sunday of the last week was a cold day, and my fancy for warmed sake increased. So, I went to Izakaya Sawanosuke at Sawanoien with my friend. They operate this izakaya only on weekends, but this is a nice place to drink warmed sake in the daytime. Actually, since Sawanoien is open only in the daytime, Sawanosuke closes the operations late-afternoon.

Quite unfortunately, Sawanosuke was not operating on that day. Last year, I had also the same experience. It was as if I had known non-business days of the izakaya, and has selected such days. I am so unlucky about this izakaya.

It was a cold day and it was hard to drink cold sake in such a condition. We wanted to leave Sawanoien and go to some warm place to drink sake.

Anyway, we had lunch first at the Mameraku, tofu restaurant, on the premises, and had some sips of sake at Kikisake Dokoro (sake tasting corner) as we usually do when we visit the place. Then, we left Sawanoien for Tachikawa.

We got to Tachikawa around 4 o'clock in the afternoon. It was still too early for normal izakayas to open. However, there are usually some exceptional izakayas. Kaisen Uoriki is one of such exceptional restaurants. So, we entered the Kaisen Uoriki on the south exist-side of Tachikawa Station.

By the way, is this izakaya a chain store? I see Kiasen Uoriki in several places. I know there are at least two Uoriki izakayas in Tachikawa, and there is one in Akishima, so they are probably chain izakayas. In the past, chain izakayas did not carry very good sake, but lately they have good menus. Actually, this Uoriki also had a relatively nice selection of sake.

Otohshi appetizers neatly arranged on a plate were good enough for pairing with sake. As to foods at this izakaya, sashimi was nice, and they had also nice sushi, which you may want to eat as a wind-up food.

We ordered Gazanryu Hazuki Muroka Namazake, which was sake rich in taste and went well with kinmedai kabuto ni (boiled head of an alfonsino fish flavored with soy sauce, sugar, sake, and other seasonings) Then, we ordered Yukimuro, sake from Gunma Prefecture made from Gohyakumangoku sake rice. This was quite dry and flinty sake.

Then, I have an inspiration. I poured some of the half left Gazanryu in my cup and then added Yukimuro to it, blending the two sakes fifty-fifty. This blend sake tasted basically like Gazanryu, but it had increased mildness and sweetness, became easier to drink, and went good with foods. I found that blending two sakes in one's own way was also a pleasure of sake drinking.

And, here is today's video. I compared two warmed Tokyo sakes, Sawanoi and Kasen.