Look at the labels of pricier sake and you will almost certainly find the word ginjo.

Meaning "brewed with particular care," it is one of the most recognizable sake terms, and not just for nihonshu (sake) geeks. Even Japanese with no interest in the more arcane wonders of their national drink know what ginjo means: the good stuff. Usually drunk chilled, ginjo sake is distinguished by its refined flavor and fruity, flowery aromatics.

To craft a sake with the "G" word on its label, the aspiring brewer must first polish the rice, grinding away the mineral-heavy outer portion of the grain so that 60 percent or less of the pure white center of the kernel remains. Polish until half or less of the grain remains, and you can offer the result as daiginjo, the highest grade of sake.