Sake is an alcoholic beverage that originates from Japan. It is made from fermented rice, which is why in some countries this beverage is referred to as rice wine. Undiluted sake contains between 15 percent to 20 percent alcohol, and while it’s unclear when the first time sake was made, there is documented evidence of sake being made in the third century. There are at least 8 different varieties of sake, and you will sample the one of the most popular varieties in Vancouver with Vancouver Foodie Tours. Below is more information on the art of serving and drinking sake, and how to go about tasting Vancouver sake.
How to Serve Sake
Serving sake really is an art as well as an insight into Japanese culture. The first way to serve sake authentically is to ensure that you have the right vessel to contain the sake. The sake is kept in a ceramic flask known as a “tokkuri.” This can look like a teapot, or a pouring device with a thin neck. The proper cups are also required to serve sake authentically. The cups usually have no handle and are known as “ochoko.”
Before serving sake, it is important to know what kind you are serving to make sure you get the temperature correct. Sakes such as honjozo-shu are served at room temperature. Be sure the sake doesn’t get too high above room temperature, unless it is poor quality. Ginjo-shu is one variety of sake that should be served chilled. Generally, sake that is unpasteurized must be served chilled.
When serving sake, always pour for your guests and never into your own “ochoko.” It is the guests’ responsibility to make sure the host has a full cup. When serving, hold the “tokkuri” with two hands and with your palms facing down.
How to Drink Sake
If you are being served sake, hold your “ochoko” with two hands. Usually, hold the cup with your right hand, and clasp your right hand with your left. Before drinking, be sure to toast, or “kanpai.” Always touch cups. If you are toasting with someone who is of higher status than yourself, be sure the rim of their cup is higher than your own.
Drink sake as if you would drink white wine. Never drink sake like a shot. If you are hoping to be particularly authentic while drinking sake, turn away from those of higher status than you while drinking.
Where to Drink Sake in Vancouver
There are a few places to try tasting Vancouver sake. While popular sakes can be found in the West End and downtown, Granville Island is the home of handcrafted artisan sake. Here, the sake produced is unfiltered sake, which optimizes its flavors and aromas. No other sake can be found like this in Vancouver.
The Artisan Sake Maker is included in a tasting Vancouver Foodie Tours provides. Artisan Junmai Nama sake is included in the Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour and is paired with delicious wild Spicy Sockeye Salmon Tartar and Agedashi Tofu at the ShuRaku Sake Bar and Bistro. Come experience the delightful art of serving and drinking sake with Vancouver Foodie Tours today!