Guys, I’m obsessed with Japan (if you didn’t know that you can read about it here and here) so, WSET (Wine & Spirit Educational Trust) invited me to do their Sake level 1 course, but I’m an idiot and got the day mixed up. I’m so upset. I was so excited to learn about this (gluten free bitches!) Japanese Rice Wine.
When I went to Japan, you could get sake in a can like you can get beer in London. It was so so incredible. While I wasn’t able to do that actual course, WSET was kind enough to show me the course materials and I learned soooooo much in such a short time:
- Sake is impossible to make without a special mold called Koji. They let the mold coat a portion of steamed white rice and then add the mold to water and yeast. The mold turns starch to sugar and the yeast eats the sugar and farts out co2. Then boom! Alcohol! Yeast is the answer to all alcohol. Without it, wine, beer, and other wobbly pops would just be different varieties of rotten food.
- Koji is a science. Do not try and grow your own on some old take away and brew your own sake. It will probably kill you.
- There are different kinds of premium Sake. The variations have to do with how much the rice is polished before it’s steamed and that is regulated by Japanese law. The best is 50% or less polishing ratio and called junmai daiginjo.
Sake should be consumed young. YOLO peeps, drink the dranks while they’re fresh. A special occasion is that you woke up today literate enough to read this blog and have enough money to own a device you can read it on. That’s better off than most of the planet. Celebrate!
But, if you have adult responsibilities (Sake is typically 15-17% alcohol) and can’t down a whole bottle on a whim, Sake will keep in your fridge for about a week. For reference, drinking bottle after bottle of sake in Tokyo will cause you to have a phone full of pictures like this in the morning:
Store it upright and away from light (side note: olive oil is also damaged by light and should be optimally stored in cans).
So, if you’re serious about sake, you can take the next WSET course in March (which I will hopefully get my shit together and go to) or if you want to fancy yourself a connoisseur of any other tipple, check out their course offerings: https://www.wsetglobal.com/wset-school-london/
Two places I recommend in London to have some sake and sushi: