NYC: K&D Wines & Spirits Sake Tasting

Sake To Me! This Isn’t Your Sushi Bar’s Sake…Free Tasting! Sake Tasting
Monica the Sake Ambassador of Southern Wines and Spirits will be guiding your exploration of the distinctive and remarkably versatile styles of Sake. This isn’t the piping hot cheap stuff at the sushi bar; prepare to be amazed!
* Momokawa ‘Pearl’
* Momokawa Organic Ginjo
* Yuri Masamune

Place: K&D Wines & Spirits
NEW YORK, NY 10128
Phone: 212 289 1818

NYC: Sake Steal at Bao Noodles

Sake Steal at Bao Noodles
Pair fusion foods with sips of sake at this intimate four-course event. Sake guru Chris Johnson invites you into his Gramercy restaurant, offering pairings like truffled tuna spring rolls served with Murai Family Sugidama Ginjo sake. Johnson will tell you the differences between Ginjo sake and Daiginjo sake, as well as which will taste better with your wok-seared steak with choi sam.

Event Details:
$45 for four courses with sake & cocktails; tax and tip not included.
391 Second Ave. (22nd & 23rd Sts.)
To Reserve: Call 212-725-7770

Minneapolis: Sake and Sushi event

Sake and Sushi
Do you ever wonder: “What’s the scoop on Sake anyway?” Well, here’s your chance to find out! We’ll be exploring a bunch of Japanese Sake and you’ll get a chance to see just how diverse and flexible they can be. A local Sushi restaurant will also be here serving up some artistic eats to pair with the Sake. We expect a full house so an RSVP is appreciated.
More Info: Sinful Wine & Spirits

Date: Apr 16, 2009 (Thu)
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Cost: FREE

Place: Sinful Wine & Spirits
7949 Southtown
Bloomington, MN 55431
Phone: 952-888-9463

Philly: Sake Fest

sakefest Saké Fest

Get ready saké fans, Sake Fest is only a few weeks away, and it looks to be another terrific showcase of premium sakés from Japan and America. This year’s festival takes place on Tuesday, April 7, in the Millennium Ballroom at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Festival goers will be treated to samples of premium and rare sakés, as will regionally microbrewed “jizake,” (small, regional saké brewers). You’ll also learn how to pair saké with a wide variety of foods, and local chefs will be on hand to partner a variety of foods with an array of sakés. This is always a great event and yet another example of Philadelphia’s ever-expanding drinks scene. For more event details and to order tickets, check out the Saké Fest website. And if you want to study up on sake before you check out the event, read our saké feature from the Jan/Feb 09 issue.

Saké Fest
Tuesday, April 7
6–8:30 p.m.
Loews Philadelphia Hotel
$55 in advance online, $75 at the door

LA: Mystery Of Sake Tasting Event

mysteryofsakeMystery of Sake
On Thursday, April 23rd, step onto the scene of the California Science Center and explore sake and hors d’oeuvre pairings at “Mystery of Sake” benefiting the Little Tokyo Service Center. Scope out the event with 800 other Angelinos investigating sake. Also, help honor Mutual Trading Co., chief distributor of Japanese goods, for their community involvement.

Get a clue at And for the latest updates, follow us on This event will sell out – get your tickets today!

Sake Specs:

*Imported sake with hands-on education from each brewery

*Indulgent hors d’oeuvres from up-and-coming, hip and fine dining restaurants

*VIP Reception and Awards Gala honoring Mutual Trading Co. with exclusive tasting menu by Chef Andy Nakano

*Private viewing of limited engagement exhibit: “CSI: The Experience”

*Fabulous silent auction featuring unique and enticing items

*Exciting opportunity drawing for two roundtrip tickets to Europe on American Airlines

Have a great time for a great local cause!

Your ticket gives you satisfying food and beverages but more importantly, the satisfaction in knowing you helped the Little Tokyo Service Center continue its mission in “Helping People, Building Community” by providing social services and developing affordable housing in Los Angeles.

Date: Apr 23, 2009 (Thu)
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Cost: $60 General Admission, $100 VIP
Place: California Science Center
700 State Drive.
Los Angeles, CA 90037
Phone: 213-473-1615

More Info: Mystery of Sake

Interview: Paul Tanguay

Paul Tanguay

Paul Tanguay

Mr. Paul Tanguay is well known as a real sake authority and a go-to guy for sake education in the US. I first met him when he was Corporate Beverage Director for SushiSamba, and developing a special interest in Sake.

Among his many sake achievements, Paul was the winner of the 2006 Eastern U.S. Sake Sommelier Competition and ranked among the top ten at the 2006 World Sake Sommelier Competition, and for years he as been a part of the judging panel for the U.S. National Sake Appraisal. Paul is currently Founding Partner of Tippling Bros., a NYC based Beverage consulting company and is also Vine Connection’s National Sake Educator.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Paul and luckily for me, he agreed to answer some questions I had about his take on all things sake. Here’s the Urban Sake Interview!

Q: How on earth did you get into sake in the first place?

Paul Tanguay: Well, being a sommelier/overall beverage geek, it was just a natural progression to learn about another alcoholic beverage. Also, earlier on I realized that not many wine people were interested in learning about sake. I kind of saw sake as an opportunity to have a niche that other sommelier’s did not have. Looking back, it was a smart move.

Q: I won’t ask you to pick favorites, but what are some sakes you really enjoy and when/under what circumstances do you enjoy them?

Paul Tanguay: My favorite category by far is Ginjo sake, typically with a 50% semai buai. Depending on the sake, this category can work as a simple aperitif or has enough ‘meat’ to hold up to food.

Q: What advice would you give to folks who want to learn more about sake but are not sure where to start?

Paul Tanguay: Well, for starters Urban is a great place to start learning. Because of the language barrier, the obvious sources like Gauntner, Sake World, Phillip Harper are great sources. But the one number one advice, try as many different sakes ads you can, from producers, categories and types.

Q: Any favorite food-sake pairings you can share with us?

Paul Tanguay: Sake and Pizza. I’ll leave it at that. I think this could be a whole separate article

Q: The world of sake in the US feels to me to be evolving quickly! Where do you see the sake import industry in five or ten years? Can imported Japanese sake go mainstream?

Paul Tanguay: Though sake has seen unbelievable growth during the past two decades, my feeling is that it has begun to slow down, especially in the large markets like NYC, San Fran, Miami, Chicago. An example of that is five-six years ago, i use to get at least 1 to 4 calls a month from various media sources that were interested in sake. Though, with that said, there are many pockets in this country where people have such an interest in learning more about sake. This week, I had 30 people attend a sake seminar in New Orleans. Still a ton of interest. Personally, I feel there might be too many sake importers to support demand, which might not be good for the industry- too much sake sitting around might lead to some bad sake laying around, potentially turning some new drinkers off the beverage. In terms of going mainstream, unfortunately, I just don’t see that happening any time soon. First, because of the overall price of premium, ginjo sake. Second, the language barrier- look at German wines. And third- right now- the American palate is seeking drier beverages, in wine, beer and spirits. For many, sake appears too sweet to them. They also seek higher acidity than what sake might offer.


Thanks Paul! That Sake and Pizza comment has me intrigued! I will get some field research in as soon as I can.

Shichi Hon Yari Sake Tasting

Shichi Hon Yari!

Shichi Hon Yari!

My bedroom radiator has a drip that drives me crazy. Sometimes at night, I lay awake and can hear the drip, drip, drip. I know I’ve got to get it fixed, but I’ve never gotten around to it. The only way I can calm my nerves when I hear this drip is to close my eyes and think of “Shizuku” sake.

Shizuku, also known as drip or trickle sake, indicates the sake was made using a lavish production method where sake mash is filled into mesh bags and suspended over a container. All the clear sake that drips out by gravity alone is collected. It’s really the “cream of the crop”.

I was excited to learn that Sakaya was hosting a tasting of Shichi Hon Yari sakes, including their ultra rare Junmai Daiginjo Shizuku. I was lucky enough to visit Shichi Hon Yari Brewery back in October 2008. My Impression upon visiting this brewery left me with one word ringing in my ears… “artisanal”. The operation is small and deep in the countryside of Shiga Prefecture, but they make robust, hand crafted sake that has a global reach.

Drip, Drip, Drip...

Drip, Drip, Drip...

Midori-san from Shichi Hon Yari importer Joto Sake, was pouring two Sakes. Let’s take a look:

First is their most famous export the Shichihonyari Junmai. This sake uses locally grown Tamazakae sake rice. It’s fantastic both chilled and heated and offers a dry yet robust sake experience. Not to be missed. Oh, and you can’t beat the cool Samurai design on the label.

The Second sake we had was the aforementioned Shichihonyari Shizuku Junmai Daiginjo. An exquisite Shizuku or “drip” sake, it’s an elegant treat of light fruits on the palate a wisp of crispness that gives it a grounded backbone and good balance. It’s an amazing trickle sake in that it has the body to stand up to food and would be an excellent pairing with lots of yummy stuff. Midori-san recommended cheese and I agree! It’s expensive stuff, but also know it’s a “limited edition”… once it sells out, here won’t be any more until next year!

Shichi Hon Yari represents to me so many good things about the world of sake that I love so much. Hand crafted sake made with pride and passion! You can’t beat that. Now if I could only get my Super to look at that radiator…

NYC: Japan Society Annual Sake Tasting

Japan SocietyJapan Society Annual Sake Tasting & Lecture

Without Koji, There is No Sake
Koji-making is the heart of the sake brewing process. Koji is steamed rice onto which a special mold has been grown with great precision and skill that converts starches to sugars, which in turn are fermented to yield alcohol. Making good koji requires precise regulation of temperature and moisture, and nothing has a greater impact on the final flavors and aromas of sake. Like much of sake brewing, koji-making is more art than science. Sake expert John Gauntner discusses the art and science of making koji, what it is, the myriad ways it can be accomplished, and how tiny changes to koji can result in major differences in sake flavor.

Followed by a sake tasting. Co-sponsored by the Sake Export Association.


$35/$30 Japan Society members & seniors

Must be 21 years of age.

March 2009 Sake 101 at Astor Center!

Astor Sake deliciousnessLast Tuesday was my latest class at Astor Center, teaching the “Elements of Sake” Class. It was a blast!

The class was sold out and I was lucky to find myself in front of a room of students anxious to learn more about sake! My goal at each “Elements of Sake” class is to provide a survey of the basic classifications of sake. I know not every student will love each and every selection, but they will come closer to knowing what they do like and don’t like as far as the range of sake tastes go. This is very important to make good decisions about buying sake in the future. You’ve got to know what you like!

With a basic survey in mind, These are the 7 sakes that I chose for our most recent class:

If you want to join us for the next session, don’t hesitate to check out all the details for our April 29th Elements of Sake class. I look forward to seeing you then!

NYC: Sake Hana Ceramic Cup Tasting

sake-hana.jpgSake and ceramic cup

~ Sake tasting with Japanese traditional sake ceramic cups. ~

Sake Hana will collaborate with Makari(Japanese antique store). We will feature sake tasting in 3 different types of Japanese ceramics, Hagi-style and others. You’ll discover the different of taste from regular cups. Makari will give all the attendance great discounts of those ceramics.

March 9th, 7:00pm – 7:30pm
limited only 10 people.

For more information or to register, please email: [email protected] or stop by Sake Hana(78st between 2nd & 3rd)

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

NYC: Sake Hana Sake Class 4

sake-hana.jpgSake Class 4
“Rice, water, yeast and mold.
Undiluted sake, unfiltered sake, uncharcoaled sake”

Date & time : March 28th, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
$65(include tax, tips)

by George Kao(mutual Trading)

For more information or to register, please email: uniha[email protected] or stop by Sake Hana(78st between 2nd & 3rd)

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

NYC: Sushi Sake 101 at SideBar

sidebarDo you ginjo-sho? Got nori know how? Learn how to do it yourself at our Sushi& Sake 101 Class.
During this hands on workshop, you will learn the art of sushi making while sipping on sake. Learn how to make seasoned rice, wasabi paste, spicy mayo, and how to roll your own sushi. After you roll your sushi, share a night of all-you-can-eat sushi & sake.

Tickets are $45.00 per person


Place: SideBar
118 E. 15th St. at Irving
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-228-4200×8008
More Info: Sushi Sake 101

NYC: Mr. Wright Sake tasting

misterwrightA sake tasting from different producers

Sake Tasting
Date: Mar 20, 2009 (Fri)
Time: 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Cost: Free
Place: Mr. Wright Fine Wines and Spirits
1593 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10128
Phone: 212-722-4564

San Francisco: Sake 4 Food Benefit

sake4foodThe Sake Club of San Francisco is organizing a fundraiser to support the San Francisco Food Bank. The event is on March 25, 2009 at Yoshi’s Fillmore from 6:30 – 9:30PM.

A $40 donation is requested to attend and RSVP’s can be made via Facebook or Meetup by going to The event will feature sake brewers and retailers, have mini-seminars, and prizes throughout the night.

Please visit the Sake Club of SF Meetup page for more info

What: Benefit for San Francisco Food Bank
Who: The Sake Club of San Francisco
Where: Yoshi’s 1330 Fillmore, San Francisco

Ume No Yado Sake Tasting

Moriura-san & Fufu-san

Moriura-san & Fufu-san

Have you ever gotten a call from a long lost friend and picked up right where you left off without missing a beat?

That’s exactly how I felt after getting re-acquainted with some delicious sakes from Nara’s Ume No Yado brewery. Sakaya recently sponsored a tasting of four delicious Sakes from this well known brewery.

At the tasting I met the delightful Mr. Moriura and Ms. Liao, aka Fufu-san, who were both visiting from Ume No Yado to help introduce some delicious new imports to New York from their Brewery. I was delighted to taste their new sakes and happy to taste their existing offerings again.

“Ume No Yado” means “Plum House” and from what I could gather, the name stems from having an ancient plum tree on the grounds of the Brewery for as long as anyone can remember. The Brewery is located in Nara prefecture which was the first capital of Japan in the 700s and can be considered one of the cradles of sake brewing culture in Japan. Let’s suffice to sake sake has a long and storied tradition in Nara.

Of the sakes I tasted there were two new fruity imports and two existing standbys. Let’s take a look!

ume no yado junmai ginjoUme No Yado Junmai Ginjo

This is perhaps the best known sake from Ume No Yado currently in the US. What I like about it is the somewhat rich character and the fact that it doesn’t shy away from rice flavors. It’s extremely drinkable and very enjoyable.

umenoyado junmai_daiginjoUme No Yado Junmai Daiginjo Bizen Omachi

This is a delicious sake made with the rare but well known “Bizen Omachi” rice. It’s hard to grow and gives this sake a beautifully unqiue taste. this Junmai Daiginjo is milled to an amazing 40%. Look for the signature smooth taste.

umenoyado_yuzuUme No Yado Yuzu-shu

Yuzu is a well known taste in Japanese cuisine, but less so here. it’s often called a “japanese lemon” and it a unique citrus worthy of your attention. This low alcoholsake is made with the addition of fresh yuzu juice that is summed up in one word: “Refreshing”!

umenoyado_umeUme No Yado Ume-shu

This is a low alcohol Plum sake or “ume-shu”. It’s sweet without being overpowering and if you like the taste of plums, you in for a treat. Enjoy as dessert after a meal! And who better to explore what Ume can do than the Plum house itself “Ume no Yado”!

So whether you want to meet a new friend or say hello to an old acquaintance, give the sakes of Ume No Yado a try. It’s a fantastic brewery that doesn’t shy away from rich and unique flavors while still honoring the ancient traditions of Nara. It’s a sure bet whatever you choose! kanpai!