Kitchen Tips

Saké – The Japanese Drink

Among the many alcoholic drinks that are produced around the world Saké is one of them and begs to differ from the rest.

Saké is also known, as the ‘Rice wine’ since is it produced by fermenting rice. It is also the national beverage of Japan and often warmed and served on special occasions in small earthenware called ‘ Tokkuri ‘.

‘ Nihonshu ’ is another term for Saké, which means Japanese liquor. Saké is brewed just like beer unlike wine in which the sugar gets fermented from the grapes. The brewing process for Saké involves conversion of starch to sugar and sugar to alcohol simultaneously. Undiluted Saké contains 18%–20% alcohol.

Saké - The Japanese Drink

Image Courtesy: Sarah Tzinieris used under the Creative Commons Licence

There are different kinds of Sake which varies in the concentration of alcohol, but have different flavours. Junmai, Honjozo, Daiginjo and Namazake to name a few. The Saké barrels are quite famous in Japan and are exported all over the world.

Sake can be enjoyed at different temperatures. The temperature at each stage will lend a different taste. Sake becomes more flavorful when heated, and crisper and more aromatic at lower temperatures.

Most people enjoy warm Sake also known as ‘Kanzake ‘ as it increases the effect of alcohol and serves as a perfect companion for plain foods like sushi and fish. It also helps to curb the fat and oil in the dishes.

Chilled sake is served during the warm summer months, which makes for a refreshing drink. It is also known as  ‘Reishu ‘, while sake at room temperature is called ‘Jouon ‘. Cold sake can be served with sweet and sour food.

sake japanese drink

Image Courtesy: used under the Creative Commons Licence

Let us look at some of the health benefits of Saké:

First, Japanese Saké has amino acids, which is found to prevent cancer; it boosts the immune system and activates the brain. Saké kasu, the lees from the left over Saké are known to be a natural cancer-killing agent, which kills the cancerous cells.

Second, Saké is known to prevent aging and senility. In fact, people in Japan who drink Saké in moderation are known to have a good sense of memory and better brain functioning.

Third, Japanese Saké was found to be an effective cure for Osteoporosis and hence many women who suffer from the same are known to consume Saké at least 3-6 glasses a week.

sake japanese

Image Courtesy: snarkattack used under the Creative Commons Licence

Fourth, Saké if consumed in moderate quantities is known to prevent heart diseases by dissolving the bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.

Fifth, Saké – The Japanese Drink is good for hair and skin. Some of the doctors in Japan are known to use Saké to treat Sumo wrestlers wounds. Research suggests that it also reduces stress, promotes appetite and makes you calm.

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