About Sake: History and Types
Sake is a rice wine with mysterious origins that date back to at least 300 years before the current era. Many traditions and customs are still recognized in the region, and sake plays an important cultural role in connecting the past to the modern world. In Japan, sake is still one of the most popular alcoholic beverages consumed by the population. From the earliest period into the modern era, sake has been consumed in a way that encourages a sense of bonding and community. Families and friends enjoy sake in an atmosphere of ritual and custom. The history of sake can help people to understand the critical social and cultural role this beverage still plays in modern Japan.
How is Sake Made?
Innovations in sake production took place during the 20th century. There are now two distinctive brewing processes: The modern method, and the traditional method. The traditional approach uses canvas bags that squeeze the moisture from the rice. This approach changed during the modern era when mass production processes were adopted. The modern press is now used to collect the liquid from the rice and koji mix.
Where Did Sake Originate From?
Most of the production areas of sake are around the city that is now known as Kobe. Before the 1300s, sake was only produced locally on private Japanese farms, which were either owned collectively by a villager or by a family. By this time, mass production of sake was made possible by various advances in the technology of rice manufacturing and processing. The improvements made it possible to produce new varieties of sake, which are still enjoyed to this very day.
Types of Sake
A common question asked about this beverage is, “are there different types of sake?” There are five main types of sake, and each of them utilizes a different method for brewing. Junmai-shu sake is pure rice wine, and it has no added alcohol. Honjozo-shu rice has around one-third of the total amount polished, and there is a small amout of distilled alcohol added to the mix. Ginjo-shu sake can be manufactured with or without the added alcohol, and this will be reflected in the labeling. Daiginjo-shu has over half of the rice polished, and there is no alcohol added unless if it has the Junmai Daiginjo label. Namazake is a blend of the previous types of sake, and this creates a unique flavor that is highly prized.
Sake is traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage that has been used widely in various ceremonies including weddings and Shinto rituals. The different brewing methods can create various types of blends, but only the most experienced sake drinkers will be able to tell them apart by taste alone. Some sake blends have distinct flavor that is strong and noticeable, but other blends are subtle and light. Sake may or may not have additional alcohol added, and this property is usually signified by the name of the label. Sake is enjoyed in Japan and all around the world.