Sake tastings mark the arrival of fall

| Sep 21, 2012

Sake tastings mark the arrival of fall

Sake lovers eagerly await the coming of autumn, when spring’s brash young brews begin to mellow and develop complexity. Unsurprisingly, this season is prime time for tastings, and October means sake events all over Japan. The wave of festivities kicks off on Oct. 1, ...

Sake brewers turn their hand to beer

| Sep 14, 2012

Sake brewers turn their hand to beer

Taro Ishikawa, president of Ishikawa Shuzo in Fussa City, Tokyo, knows a thing or two about brewing beer. This comes as no surprise: In addition to producing Tamajiman sake, his company has been making Japanese jibīru (craft beer) for 14 years. The Ishikawa family’s ...

Developing a taste for sake cocktails

| Aug 10, 2012

Developing a taste for sake cocktails

Despite its funny-sounding name, the Sakenic is a compelling tipple. A fizzy mix of sake, soda and tonic water with an orange twist, it is light and refreshing, with a balance of sweetness and acidity that brings to mind a gin and tonic with ...

Sake production, literally from the ground up

| Jul 13, 2012

Sake production, literally from the ground up

Planting rice is no easy task. It requires patience, sturdy legs and, preferably, a change of clothes. I had, however, neglected to make note of this final detail before embarking on the Karasuyama Taiken (www.karasuyama-taiken.jp) rice-planting excursion, organized by Shimazaki Shuzo sake brewery, in ...

Wine Challenge brings sake contest to Japan

| Jun 8, 2012

Wine Challenge brings sake contest to Japan

At 9 a.m. on the morning of May 28, the 40 judges who had been invited to arbitrate in the 2012 International Wine Challenge sake competition convened in the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association building in Tokyo’s Shinbashi district. Conversations in English and ...

Mandarin Oriental stands by Japan produce

May 11, 2012

Mandarin Oriental stands by Japan produce

Every day, crates from Japan filled with still-wriggling live fish, coral-colored lobes of uni (sea urchin) and seafood fastidiously wrapped in paper smeared with wasabi (to discourage bacteria) arrive at the Michelin-starred French restaurant Amber at Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Executive chef Richard ...

Do girls just wanna have weaker sake?

| Apr 13, 2012

Do girls just wanna have weaker sake?

When it comes to sake, I consider myself something of a traditionalist. If anything, my tastes veer toward the masculine: I tend to favor ricey, muscular styles like kimoto and yamahai over a delicate daiginjō. Funny, then, that I should find myself enjoying a ...

Tohoku's sake breweries one year on

| Mar 9, 2012

Tohoku's sake breweries one year on

The narrow, winding road that leads to Senkin Shuzo, a small sake brewery in the tiny town of Iwaizumi, Iwate Prefecture, is icy and treacherous. The train lines that used to connect Iwaizumi to Morioka, the nearest major city, were closed after landslides dislodged ...

New to sake? Here's where to start

| Feb 10, 2012

New to sake? Here's where to start

“Is it always this crowded?” I ask a happi-coat-clad clerk at the Meishu Center sake shop in Hamamatsucho, as she pours me three glasses of sake from hefty, 1.5-liter isshōbin bottles. “Well, it depends on the day, but Friday nights are usually busy,” she ...