Let's Make Some Sake Magic

Let's Make Some Sake Magic

I’ll let you in on a little secret, if you’re looking for something to make your Valentine’s Day spark, look no further than Sake. If you are trying to capture the heart of someone new or impress your current love, you’ll be surprised by what a little Nihon-shu can do!

Let’s face it, sake is sexy, exotic and intoxicating! However, not all brews are a perfect fit for Cupid. Not sure what to choose? If you want to tap into that “Sake Magic” on February 14th, here is my list of the Top 5 sakes that are perfect for Valentine’s Day.

kudoki-jozuKudoki Jozu Junmai Ginjo
I’ve heard it translated many ways, but the name of this sake, Kudoki Jozu, means “Good at Flirting”, “Lover Boy”, or “The Pick Up Artist”…. you get the idea. This uber-delicious sake is custom made for romance.

Kudoki Jozu is well balanced, light and ripe with yummy fruit flavors on the palate. It’s lovingly hand crafted by the Imai Family in Yamagata prefecture. You’ll be hard pressed to find an easier drinking or more romantic sake this February. Enjoy it with your favorite Pick Up Artist!

yukinobosha-nigori1Yuki no Bosha Nigori
Nigori sakes are all about texture. If done right, they can be creamy, dreamy and velvety smooth on the palate. Also, nigoris stand out from the crowd. Pour an exotic looking milky white Nigori for your loved one and become master of your sake domain. People will be impressed.

One of my favorite Nigori sakes is the Yuki No Bosha. The texture in this winning nigori is whisper light and not overpowering. Yuki No Bosha translates as “Cabin in the Snow”, which is exactly where you’ll want to find your self together with this sake and your valentine.

ichinokura_himezenIchinokura Himezen Junmai
Do you have a real Princess on your hands every Valentine’s Day? You know, someone wanting, no, expecting you to arrange the perfect evening? There is only one sake that will do for those finicky valentines out there. I recommend Ichinokura’s Himezen or “Princess”.

Sweet and low in alcohol, this crisp and slightly fruity sake is a great refreshing starter before that romantic dinner. It comes in a beautiful 500ML bottle which is the perfect size to share for two, and just enough to bring a blush to their cheek.

chikurin_hanahouhoushuChikurin Hana Hou Hou Shu Sparkling Junmai
Think of Feb 14th, and you can’t help but Think Pink! However, don’t give a dozen pink roses for Valentine’s Day again this year! Update that tired old standby with a modern twist by bringing your beloved a bottle of Chikurin Hana Hou Hou Shu instead.

You see, this sparkling low alcohol junmai sake is infused with rose petal and hibiscus! Light and refreshing on the palate, this is an immensely popular sake in the USA. Guaranteed to tickle your nose and infuse some romance.

kagatobi_junmai_daiginjoKagatobi “Ai” Junmai Daiginjo
We can’t leave a list of romantic sakes without at least one Junmai Daiginjo! I’ve selected Kagatobi “Ai” junmai Daiginjo. In Japanese “Ai” means “Love”, so this is a prefect super premium bottle to share with the love of your life.

It doesn’t hurt that this sake is smooth on the palate and that the finish gently lingers, evocative of the soft essence of tropical fruit. The taste is a testament to how well crafted this sake is. A smooth sake for a real smooth operator…like you!

Wherever your Valentine’s Day plans take you, adding some sake to the evening can take you there in style. Sharing the experience of drinking a luscious sake together is a wonderful way to connect with your loved one this February 14th. So, go ahead… bring a little “Sake Magic” to your night, but be warned, it only takes a sip to fall in love forever.

kyotofu_1.jpgSake Sundays at Kyotofu

Introducing Sake Sundays at Kyotofu
Half-off all sake glasses and bottles during January and February!

When: Every Sunday during January and February, from 5:30pm – 12:30pm

What: 50% off all Sake Glasses and Bottles!
On over 30 types of sake served cold or hot…from our Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo (usually $35 per bottle; $17.50 on Sundays), to our Kattchou Gesseki Daiginjo (usually $130 per bottle; $65 on Sundays).

Where: Kyotofu – 705 Ninth Avenue between 48th and 49th
Call 212-974-6012
http://www.kyotofunyc.com/

Drink Up!

Drink Up!

Last night I had the great pleasure of teaching a Sake 101 class for the fine folks at Sake Hana. Arranged by Manager Toshi-san, the class was the second in a series of instructional classes that were requested by Sake Hana Customers.

The class was structured as a basic sake 101 class which covered sake classifications, sake ingredients, Production Process and of course sake tasting! The tasting is really what set this class apart. For the 20 or so Students in attendance, we were able to taste TEN sakes during the class. This allowed us to try both pure rice and fortified sakes, along with Nama, Nigori and Koshu! Phew! Everything was delicious. Here is our tasting list:

Drinking the Mystery Sake!

Drinking the Mystery Sake!

  1. Welcome Sake: ???
  2. TakeNoTsuyu Junmai
  3. Kikusui Honjozo
  4. Kaiun Junmai Ginjo
  5. Okunomatsu Ginjo
  6. Dassai Junmai Ginjo Nigori
  7. Narutotai Ginjo Nama Genshu
  8. Wakatake Junmai Daiginjo
  9. Tedorigawa Ikinaonna Daiginjo
  10. Hanahato Kijoshu Koshu

Needless to say, it was a blast to teach and I really hope the students enjoyed it as well. We shook things up by serving a mystery sake to welcome students at the beginning of class. After they had a chance to taste all classifications, we had them guess what grade the sake was… Junmai? Ginjo? I’m happy to report, most guessed correctly! Click on the welcome sake link above to see what we chose!

Special thanks to Toshi-san for arranging this fun class! If you haven’t been to charming and romantic Sake Hana (265 E 78th St, NYC, NY 10021), please plan a trip there. the sake selection is top notch and the atmosphere is wonderful. I am looking forward to the upcoming classes at Sake Hana! Hope you’ll join me!

sakaya.gifHakkaisan Sake tasting at Sakaya

Free tasting of Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo and Hakkaisan Ginjo! Don’t miss it!!

SAKAYA : 324 E. 9th Street (Between 1st & 2nd Ave.)
New York, NY 10003
212.505.SAKE (7253)
www.sakayanyc.com

sakaya.gifWorld Sake Tasting at Sakaya

SAKAYA : 324 E. 9th Street (Between 1st & 2nd Ave.)
New York, NY 10003
212.505.SAKE (7253)
www.sakayanyc.com

bacchus.jpgSake and Sushi!

So we all know that sake is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice, but have you ever wanted to know more? Unanswered questions like “when should sake be served cold?” and “how can I decipher all the different varieties?”, can be answered! Just like it takes a special kind of grape to make an excellent wine, producing great Sake requires a special kind of rice. Enjoy and learn about an assortment of different sakes with knowledgeable teachers. Fun for the sake novice and connoisseur alike! Guests will also be able to sample a wonderful spread of fresh sushi, sake’s most trusted food pairing (brought to you by Indiana Catering, www.indiananyc.com).
Cost: $20 (plus tax) *
Each participant will receive a beautiful Riedel Crystal glass from which to taste and take home at the end of the evening.
*Payment covers the cost of Riedel glassware and printed materials.

To sign up go to:
www.bacchuswinestore.com/wine-tastings

Bacchus Wines
2056 Broadway
New York, NY 10023
Email: info@BacchusWineStore.com
http://www.bacchuswinestore.com/
Phone: 212.875.1200

kyotofu_1.jpgSake Sundays at Kyotofu

Introducing Sake Sundays at Kyotofu
Half-off all sake glasses and bottles during January and February!

When: Every Sunday during January and February, from 5:30pm – 12:30pm

What: 50% off all Sake Glasses and Bottles!
On over 30 types of sake served cold or hot…from our Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo (usually $35 per bottle; $17.50 on Sundays), to our Kattchou Gesseki Daiginjo (usually $130 per bottle; $65 on Sundays).

Where: Kyotofu – 705 Ninth Avenue between 48th and 49th
Call 212-974-6012
http://www.kyotofunyc.com/

kyotofu_1.jpgSake Sundays at Kyotofu

Introducing Sake Sundays at Kyotofu
Half-off all sake glasses and bottles during January and February!

When: Every Sunday during January and February, from 5:30pm – 12:30pm

What: 50% off all Sake Glasses and Bottles!
On over 30 types of sake served cold or hot…from our Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo (usually $35 per bottle; $17.50 on Sundays), to our Kattchou Gesseki Daiginjo (usually $130 per bottle; $65 on Sundays).

Where: Kyotofu – 705 Ninth Avenue between 48th and 49th
Call 212-974-6012
http://www.kyotofunyc.com/

Shichiken & Naraman

Shichiken & Naraman

Tonight Sakaya hosted a fun and informative tasting to allow sake fans to try two fantastic sakes side by side – and also both warmed and chilled. The results were really interesting to say the least.

Shichiken Junmai Ginjo is a sake already well known for it’s ability to blossom when warmed and tonight was no exception. When warmed, this sake takes on an added richness with a warming gentle finish. I picked up on enjoyable woody notes on the palate this go round and that just added to the cozy feeling this sake gives me. Chilled, this sake is also great. It comes off as less rich and less alcohol forward while retaining it’s balance. Both warm and cold were delicious. If you want to learn more about Shichiken, you can read my interview with Tsushima Kitahara, the 13th generation maker of this sake.

Naraman

Naraman

For me, however, the real surprise of the evening came with my tasting of Naraman Bin Hiire Junmai Muroka. When warmed, Naraman was one smoooooth operator! Stunningly smooth in my opinion. It went down like silk and warmed me up in a way that felt like wrapping myself in a cashmere throw! And disspite having a slightly higher alcohol percentage at 16,5%, the alcohol notes didn’t trample the flavor when warmed. In addition, the nose was also remarkable… gentle and evocative of mild floral essences… yes, in a heated sake! Naraman is a “muroka” or non-charcoal filtered sake. This gives the chilled version of this same sake an added rich dimension and a wonderful balance between sweet and acidity.

My takeaway from the whole experience tonight is that I will try to drink more warmed sake! Sure, it’s a little more work to prepare, but the rewards can be rich. It gets such a bad wrap sometimes, but winter is here to teach us what a joy and visceral pleasure warmed sake can be on a cold, cold night.

sakaya.gifRick and Hiroko at Sakaya will be pouring some fantastic sakes for valentine’s day: Ban Ryu “the Thousands Way” Honjozo (Yamagata), Kudoki Jozu “Pickup Artist” Junmai Ginjo (Yamagata), Hana Hou Hou shu Sparkling Sake (Okayama)

SAKAYA
324 E. 9th Street (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave.)
NYC 10003
212.505.7253 (SAKE)
www.sakayanyc.com

sakaya.gifRick and Hiroko at Sakaya will be pouring some fantastic sakes from Nishimoto importers, namely: Naraman Junmai (Fukushima) & Shichiken Junmai Ginjo (Yamanashi)

SAKAYA
324 E. 9th Street (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave.)
NYC 10003
212.505.7253 (SAKE)
www.sakayanyc.com

jos_aftertaste.jpgJoy of Sake Aftertaste:

Origin of Aroma

It took sake-makers nearly a century to unlock the secrets of how to make ginjo sakes with floral and fruity aromas. This month’s Aftertaste looks at how brewers coax fragrances like apple, banana, litchi and anise from just rice, water and yeast.

We’ll try 37 different sakes, ranging from highly aromatic labels to those whose subtle fragrance is barely discernible. The tasting takes an hour and is followed by sake appetizers and more reflective sake-sipping until 8:00 p.m.

Reservations may be made online through the following link:Aftertaste Ticket Store or call Karen at 212-989-7699. All sales are final and attendance is limited to 50
Monday, January 26, 2009
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Sumile Restaurant (154 West 13th Street)
Tel (212) 989-7699
Registration from 5:30 p.m.
Program begins promptly at 6:00 p.m.
$37 per person (tax & tip included)

Daishichi and Chiyomusubi

Daishichi and Chiyomusubi

Tonight was freezing in New York! What an inspired idea then to enjoy some warmed sake. This versatility is one of the real secret weapons in the sake world. Sake can be fantastic both warmed and chilled.

People often think sake should only be served warm OR only served chilled. Truth is both can be fantastic depending on the sake and your mood. Try that Chardonnay!

Lucky for me, Sakaya was putting on a free tasting tonight with some real winners both warmed and room temp. Let’s take a look at some of the premium sakes we enjoyed.

First, we had Daishichi Junmai Kimoto Classic. The fact that this Sake is a Kimoto (all sakes from Daishichi are…) predisposes it for having the body and structure that would take kindly to warming. I’m happy to report that the Kimoto “classic” does not disappoint! Warmed, this sake exudes a sexy, restrained tone that reminds me of Lauren Bacall in her prime: Sultry, smooth and seductive.

Second, we tried the delicious Chiyomusubi Goriki Junmai Ginjo. When this sake was warmed, I felt the nose led me a bit astray… wasn’t sure what to expect. On the palate, however, this sake did shine when warmed. It had a wonderful balance of body and alcohol and an unexpected touch of light-sweet-something or other that was just fantastic. Both these sakes delighted me and passed the test. Yum-o.

Sipping these winners warmed me right up. If the cold, blasting winds of a NYC night like tonight can’t turn you onto the charms of warmed premium Nihonshu – nothing can. Kanpai!

sakaya.gifGreat Tasting at Sakaya! FREE Azumaichi tasting at Sakaya!

Azumaichi Junmai & Azumaichi Junmai Ginjo from Saga

SAKAYA
324 E. 9th Street (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave.)
NYC 10003
212.505.7253 (SAKE)
www.sakayanyc.com

sakaya.gifGreat Tasting at Sakaya! FREE Joto Sake tasting at sakaya! It’ll be yummy! please join me!

Namazake! Wataribune nama Junmai Ginjo and Kasumitsuru Taiheikai Nigori nama.

SAKAYA
324 E. 9th Street (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave.)
NYC 10003
212.505.7253 (SAKE)
www.sakayanyc.com

sakaya.gifGreat Tasting at Sakaya! Chiyomusubi Tokubetsu Junmai (Tottori) & Goriki Junmai Ginjo (Tottori)

SAKAYA
324 E. 9th Street (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave.)
NYC 10003
212.505.7253 (SAKE)
www.sakayanyc.com

Lannie Ahn, Owner Izakaya Ten

Lannie Ahn, Owner Izakaya Ten

Izakaya Ten is a great Japanese style sake pub in Chelsea. Becoming ever more sake friendly, they recently expanded their sake list and also expanded their hours (Thursday-Saturday ’til 3:00am). Who’s behind all this wonderful sake expansion? It’s Lannie Ahn, Izakaya Ten owner, but also a true sake aficionado. I recently sat down with Lannie to discuss the world of sake.

Q: How did you first discover sake?

Lannie Ahn: I’m a Korean, so traditionally, I’ve known about sake from my childhood. Even though it’s Japanese drink, we knew about sake as we were growing up. Also in our Confucianism ceremony there is a celebration where we bow to our ancestors, and for that we use sake. I rediscovered sake during my college years in Boston. I watched a lot of Japanese dramas in my college years and there are always little izakaya in the stories and I would always think I want to go to a place like that. So I found such a place in Boston and started drinking mostly hot sake at first. But it’s during that time that I started to get into sake more seriously.

Q: What is the appeal of sake for you?

Lannie Ahn: I think it’s about “drinkablilty” and the purity and uniqueness of sake which is very different form other kinds of drinks. To me, there is not another drink that drinks so easily and also brings people together like sake does. Also, it’s not a hard liquor – that’s what I mean by “drinkability” – and the feeling drinking sake gives you is very unique, so that’s the appeal.

Izakaya Ten

Izakaya Ten

Q: You just expanded your sake list at Izakaya Ten. How did you put that expanded sake list together?

Lannie Ahn: This most recent list is ordered by the level of umami in the sake. We started with the very representational sakes in Japan and also here in the U.S., and then began filling the gaps of the different tastes mostly measured by umami and acidity. And, of course, based on the value in terms of the price. For example, I feel that just having the representational sakes wouldn’t fill those gaps in flavor profiles that we really needed for a well rounded sake list. And also, in the US, for a restaurant to have a good sake list, there is a lot of good sake here to choose from, so I had to taste a lot. We then go with what we think is best based on the tasting, thereof, to discover 3-4 kinds of same peers in each different umami and acidity categories. At final, we selected one in the peers factored in what we think gives the best value to the customer.

Q: How has sake been received here by your American customers?

Lannie Ahn: I think the reaction has been absolutely positive. Some customers come in ready to enjoy sake, but we also get some people who are beginners with sake and may be a bit hesitant to try it. So we explain to them about sake and they have a very happy experience. So not only are we promoting sake, but the customer’s reaction is really great after they taste it.

Izakaya Ten Mural

Izakaya Ten Mural

Q: Do you find you have to do a lot of sake education?

Lannie Ahn:Absolutely. Customers always say they have to write down the names of the sakes. They always ask, “What did I try last time? This time I want to try something different!” And when we explain about the technical side of sake, it becomes a lot more interesting for our customers. All the staff here knows about the sake production process, so we can share that too.

Q: Is there a sake on your list that you have a special connection to?
Lannie Ahn: Tamanohikari. It has the yamahai style that for me personally, I think has an interesting taste. At the sake expo, I had the chance to meet the President of the brewery here in New York. He was from Kyoto and a really friendly person and he sent us a lot of sake souvenirs. I got to know about their history, and not just about the Brewery itself but also Kyoto’s traditions. Oh and by the way, it became a number one seller by itself. One of the Tamanohikari sakes we have on the list is a yamahai. It’s been good to enjoy that taste. Customers really seem to enjoy the taste of that sake. Yes, the Tamanohikari Yamahai is the best seller in the 720ml size bottle.

Q: From your perspective what do you think the future of sake is in the US?
Lannie Ahn: I think as long as sake continues being imported to us, I believe sake will have great potential. Not just because the drink itself is so great but also because, with increasing accessibility to sake, more and more people will be able to try it and enjoy it. I think sake really has a great potential!

*********

Lannie, a very sincere thank you for taking the time to talk to me about sake. I can tell you are passionate about sake and I’m excited for the future of Izakaya Ten! Please keep spreading the good word about sake!

Izakaya Ten
207 Tenth Avenue
between 22nd &23rd St.
New York, NY 10011
Tel 212.627.7777
http://www.izakayaten.com/

Hours
Mon–Wed, 6 pm to 12 am
Thurs–Fri, 6 pm to 3 am
Sat, 5 pm to 3 am
Sun, 5 pm to 10:30 pm

Elements of Sake

Elements of Sake

Last night was my first sake teaching gig of the new year and we had a really fun Elements of Sake class at Astor Center. We were sold out to capacity and the weather was damp and drizzly, but students arrived excited and happy to learn more about sake.

As I introduced myself to students before class, I learned that for at least 3 couples attending, one spouse had given the class to the other spouse as a holiday present! How fun is that? Whenever I start my class, I take a quick survey and ask students how much exposure they have had to sake. As is usual, the majority of students responded by saying, they really love good sake when they try it, but don’t know much about sake in general. My ideal students!

Popular Wakatake

Popular Wakatake

This class we tried 7 sakes to give everyone a survey of basic sake types. Here is what we tried last night.

Of the above Sakes, Wakatake Junmai Daiginjo and the Norutotai Ginjo Nama Genshu were both well liked by the students. The Wakatake had a few more fans and came out on top as class favorite in the final voting. This class was a sharp group and asked some fantastic questions when we discussed sake ingredients and the sake production process.

I had a blast teaching and this really got my New Year off to a great sakelicious start. We enjoyed some fantastic sake together and had some fun along the way. If you would like to attend a Sake class at Astor Center for yourself (or as a gift for your spouse!), please book early to ensure your spot. Please visit either the Elements of Sake Level I or Elements of Sake Level II page to enroll. I look forward to meeting you in a future class! Kanpai!

With Ted & Etsuko

With Ted & Etsuko

What do you get when you mix Tokyo Foodcast Sake Bloggers Ted and Etsuko, Jocelyn and Carlos from the You, madam, are no Ambrose Bierce blog, Bloggers Rick and Hiroko from New York’s SAKAYA Sake Shop, Scott and yours truly from UrbanSake, along with wonderful friends and family? Well, obviously, the first Sake Blogger Summit of 2009!

A wonderful reason to get together for Ted and Etsuko’s visit to the NYC area, we enjoyed a fun dinner at a stellar restaurant, Aburia Kinnosuke. Of course, sake was on my mind and we enjoyed some wonderful stuff.

To get the ball rolling, I ordered us a bottle of the delicious Kokuryu Junmai Ginjo. Umami-laden, savory and smooth, this is a sake you can really sink your teeth into. In short, a supreme pleasure to drink and I find it perfectly positioned between elegance and casual.

Hiroko-san with Senchu Hassaku

Hiroko-san with Senchu Hassaku

Next, to go along with some fantastic sashimi and Aburia’s famous tsukune chicken meatball, several tokkuri of lovely Masumi Karakuchi Ki-Ippon Junmai Ginjo hit the table. Known as the “Mirror of Truth”, this sake tells no lies. Dry, smooth and delicious, the clean edge of this sake was a perfect counterpart to our delicious food.

As our evening was drawing to a close, I winked to Hiroko-san and suggested we order one last bottle… and happened upon one of our favorites, Tsukasabotan Senchu Hasaku Tokubetsu Junmai. This sake is dry, but has a well-rounded depth of flavor. It’s impressive and understandably a favorite! I enjoyed every sip.

It was wonderful to see Etsuko-san again, this time in New York. I also really enjoyed meeting Ted-san and all my new friends! I hope we all have another chance to get together again and enjoy sake in the U.S. or Japan sometime soon!

tim_photo.jpg
Sorry! This class is sold out!
Please sign up for our April 29th Elements of Sake class

Please join me!! I am teaching a sake 101 class at the new Astor center called the “Elements of Sake.” This class is a fun, informative and tasty way to dive into the world of premium saké. I’ll walk you through every step of the saké production process to show you how master brewers go from rice and water to what the Japanese call “the drink of the gods.” Next, I’ll demystify the various saké classifications to help you find the brews that fit your taste and your budget. Finally, we’d never leave out the delicious saké tastings that will help you evaluate and enjoy the ever-increasing variety of sakés that are becoming available. Kanpai!

This class takes place at Astor Center. Tickets required. Cost $65

Please visit the website to Register for this class

399 Lafayette St. NY, NY 10003 (At East 4th Street) PHONE: (212) 674-7501

sake-hana.jpgUrbanSake lecture at Sake Hana

Join me for a fun and informative sake 101lecture at Sake Hana!

Class II: Sake 101
admission: $60

1. The difference of Junmai, Ginjo, Daiginjo
2. How is sake made?
3. What is Koji?
4. Hot sake = Bad sake??
5. Why sake is served with box sometimes?
6. Do you still put a cucumber in sake?

Sake Samurai, Mr. Timothy Sullivan will give us a lecture.
www.UrbanSake.com

For more information or to register, please email: unihandroll@hotmail.com or stop by Sake Hana(78st between 2nd & 3rd)

Sake Hana
212-327-0582
265 East 78th Street
(Between 1st & 2nd Aves)

Nanbu Bijin Junami Nama

Nanbu Bijin Junami Nama

I love New Year’s Eve traditions… but I really love a New Year’s Eve traditions that involve sake! No problem for me, as I’ve got one!

Scott and I have made it our tradition to head to Sakagura Restaurant each New Year’s eve to celebrate in true style and luckily for me, this year was no exception! From the moment we sat down, Sakagura manager Mr. Kadoi made sure that we were well taken care of. He personally helped us select our sakes for the evening and he’s got one of the best palates in the city, so I knew we were in good hands.

Sougen Chilled vs Sougen Warmed

Sougen Chilled vs Sougen Warmed

I wanted something fresh and interesting to start off with and after a few samples of alluring Kubota sakes, we decided on the delicious Nanbu Bijin Junmai Nama. This Namazake from Iwate Prefecture was supple, and spoke to me of soft fresh fruit. I enjoyed the gentle nama flavor profiles, and was so happy to be reminded of this sake’s specific charms. It has such a nice, pleasant level of nama juiciness without being overwhelming or brassy. Nanbu Bijin Nama went down easy and was the perfect brew to let one’s mind wonder to the sky high hopes for the new year. Alongside the nama, we feasted on a sashimi platter that was darn near perfect.

Mr. Kadoi at Sakagura

Mr. Kadoi at Sakagura

Once we hit our stride, I ordered a wonderful treat: Sougen Junmai. Kadoi-san let us sample Sougen chilled and warmed side by side. This was really facinating. The chilled sougen was more clean and easy drinking, while the warmed Sougen (warmed to the perfect nurukan temperature by Kadoi-san) came across as richer and rounder on the palate, and of course perfect for a cold New Year’s eve. Both were extremely enjoyable and it just goes to show you, sake is the most versatile booze around. (Yeah, don’t try this nurukan trick with your prized Pinot, ok?)

After a lovely meal and these fantastic sakes, it was time to head out into the night to welcome the new year. I can’t think of a better place to get 2009 off to a fantastic start. Special thanks to Kadoi-san and all the wonderful folks at Sakagura for the wonderful evening. …and it goes without saying that dinner and drinks at Sakagura beats out New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on TV. um, Seacrest out!