NYC: Elements of Sake Class

tim_photo.jpg 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

NYC: Sakagura Hakkaisan Sake Tanabata Matsuri



Sakagura Hakkaisan Sake Tanabata Matsuri

The famed Sakagura sake restaurant is hosting a very special event! To honor the Japanese Tanabata Festival, Sakagura is holding a special sake tasting featuring Hakkaisan Sake with Mr. Jiro Nagumo, President of Hakkaisan Sake Brewery as the guest of honor!

Sakagura Resturant
Tanabata Matsuri is known as the “Japanese Star Festival” and is usually held on the 7th day of the 7th month of the year. The festival commemorates two star-crossed lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi who could not be together on earth, but come together once a year in the heavens as stars.

The tasting is a standing-style reception strictly limited to 35 guests. Cost per person is $50 which includes tax and tip. We’ll be serving 4 kinds of Hakkaisan sake including a special Hakkaisan daiginjo not for sale in the U.S. The tasting also includes 4 types of appetizers paired with the sake. You’ll also receive a special sake glass as a gift from Hakkaisan Brewery. To celebrate Tanabata, please feel free to wear relaxing and comfortable Yukata to this event!

As an added bonus, Mr. Jiro Nagumo, President of Hakkaisan Sake Brewery will be in attendance as the guest of honor.

To reserve your spot for this event please call Sakagrua. Space is limited. Prompt RSVPs are recommended for this event.
RSVP Hotlines : 212-953-SAKE (7253)

Event Location:
NEW YORK, NY 10017
(bet 2nd and 3rd Avenue)
212-953-SAKE (7253)

NYC: Hakkaisan Sake Tasting at Momokawa Restaurant


Hakkaisan Sake Tasting at Momokawa Restaurant

Momokawa Restaurant is hosting Hakkaisan President Mr. Jiro Nagumo who is coming the the U.S. for this special Hakkaisan Sake tasting event. We will be preparing two special options for all guests wishing to try Hakkaiasan sake and the famous food at Momokawa Restaurant.

Momokawa Restaurant
Option 1: We will serve 3 kinds of Hakkaisan sake as a tasting set served with small appetizers for $20.

Option 2: We’ll be serving 4 kinds of Hakkaisan sake with a special full course meal for $65. This option is strictly limited to 20 sets and includes a small gift from Hakkaisan just for you!

Mr. Jiro Nagumo, President of Hakkaisan will be present at the tasting from 6pm – 8pm.

To reserve your seat for this delicious Hakkaisan tasting, please call Momokawa at (212) 684-7830. Reservations are required and seating is limited. Call today!

Momokawa Japanese Restaurant
157 E. 28th Street
Btwn 3rd & Lexington
New York, NY 10016
(212) 684-7830

Honolulu: SUMMER NAMAZAKE TASTING at The Sake Shop


Summer’s here and that means it’s time for some Namazake! “Nama” sake is sake that has not been pasteurized and must be kept refrigerated (almost all sake are normally pasteurized twice). This results in a sake with a fresh and lively flavor. Most Namazake are also genshu, which means they are undiluted and full strength. Genshu sake can be up to 20% alcohol (compared to most sake at 15% alcohol) and can add a little zing and spiciness.

This Saturday we are going to sample the full spectrum of Nama.

Dewazakura Dewasansan (Nama Genshu)
Kamoizumi Red Maple (Aged Nama)
Masumi Arabashiri (Seasonal Nama)
Miyasaka 50 (Yamahai Nama)
Kamoizumi Summer Snow (Nigori Nama)

And just for good measure we going to throw in two regular sake as well.

Kokuryu Junmai Ginjo (Black Dragon)
Kokuryu Tokusen (Crystal Dragon)

All of these make great gifts for Father’s Day as well. Hope you can make it!

Nadine and Malcolm

Saturday, June 19, 2010
3:00 pm to 7:00 pm

The Sake Shop
1461 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone: (808) 947-7253
Fax: (808) 947-7254
Email: [email protected]

Monday – Saturday 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

NYC: Japanese Night Out Soba Totto and Nanbu Bijin Sake!

The “Japanese Night Out” monthly event is no longer exclusive to JETAANY! Tell your friends, neighbors, parents, loved ones!

When: Tuesday, June 15, 6:30pm – 8:00 pm

Where: Soba Totto (211 E 43rd St., New York, NY 10017)

Cost: $35 (Limited to 20 people)

Registration deadline: June 13, 2010

To Register:
Please email your name to [email protected] to register, payment will be collected at the door.

Get your Japan-fix at this authentic eatery where you can chow down on handmade soba and yummy yakitori. Sit back and slurp noodles with fellow Japan-o-philes while soba chef Shuichi Kotani demonstrates the art of Kyoto-style soba uchi, the hand-crafting of soba noodles. Sake sommelier Chizuko Niikawa helps you wash it all down with sips from Nanbu Bijin – a century old sake brewery located in Iwate-ken’s “Nanbu no kuni.” You will be able to sample three types of this light and delicate brew: Dai Ginjo, Tokubetsu Junmai, and All Koji.

This event is limited to 20 people, so please respond today!! If you have any questions contact [email protected]

This event produced by MIE Inc.

For more information, please visit:

NYC: Hakkaisan Sake Kaiseki Dinner at Hakubai

Kitano Hotel Hakkaisan Kaiseki Event

On June 25th Hakubai Restaurant in the Kitano Hotel will be holding a special Kaiseki event called “Kaiseki Hajime no Ippo” (great first step to enjoying Kaiseki style food). This event is limited to only 16 participants. The cost is $65 per person (does not include tax & tip).

To reserve your spot, please contact at Manami at The Kitano Hotel:

Manami: [email protected]
Tel: 212-885-7072

Event Location:
Hakubai Restaurant
at the Kitano hotel
66 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016-3007
(212) 885-7111

More Information at website:

NYC: Sakaya Umenoyado Sake Tasting

sakaya.gifEvent Description: Ume no Yado Yuzu & Ume

Yuzu & Ume Sake Tasting
Event Description: Ume no Yado Yuzu & Ume

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

NYC: Aspec Sake Tasting at Sakaya

sakaya.gifAspec Sake Tasting at Sakaya

ASPEC Sake Tasting

Event Description: Chokaisan Junmai Daiginjo

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

NYC: World Sake Imports Sake Tasting at Sakaya

sakaya.gifWorld Sake Imports Sake Tasting at Sakaya

World Sake Tasting

Event Description: Dewazakura Omachi Ginjo

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

Interview: Koji Kawakami, Yoshinogawa Sake Brewery

With Yoshinogawa President Koji Kawakami

Founded in 1548, Yoshinogawa Sake Brewery is the oldest in Niigata Prefecture. That is 462 years of sake making in Niigata!

I recently had the distinct honor of sitting down with Yoshinogawa’s 19th generation company President, Mr. Koji Kawakami, to ask him so questions about thoughts on sake, pairing sake with food and this hopes for the future of sake in the USA.

Timothy Sullivan: You have the oldest sake brewery in Niigata. Growing up did you always know it would be your destiny to run a sake brewery?

at the Brewery

Koji Kawakami: I am an only child and our house was located right next to our sake brewery. Growing up, I never thought about other jobs outside of working at our sake brewery. Some people have asked me if I wanted to get away from the brewery and do something else but, no, I’ve always been very happy to be here. When I was younger, the brewery was my playground and the brewery workers were my friends. So for me, it was only natural that Yoshinogawa Sake Brewery was the place to be.

Timothy Sullivan: When you travel and introduce your sake to people, how do you describe the key points of your style of sake?

Koji Kawakami: I describe it like this: When you have your first sip my of sake, I want people to immediately think about having another cup.

Timothy Sullivan: There are a lot of successful sake breweries in Niigata. What makes that region of Japan so good for sake brewing?


Koji Kawakami: Back in the 1970’s all the Brewers in Niigata got together and decided as a group to make a commitment to brew really good sake. My Grandfather was at one point head of the Niigata Prefecture Sake Brewer’s Association and that was one of his goals, too… to focus on making excellent sake.

Niigata is the only prefecture that has a prefectural government run Sake Research Institute that supports research to promote better sake making. I feel this decision by the Niigata sake brewers to work together to make better sake helped establish Niigata as a center for outstanding sake.

Timothy Sullivan: I recently learned that Niigata is one of the largest rice producers – second only after Hokkaido. Do you use a lot of locally grown rice in your sake?

Koji Kawakami: Of the sake we make for retail sale, 100% of it uses local Niigata rice.

Timothy Sullivan: What strains of Niigata sake rice do you use in your sake?

Koji Kawakami: Gohyakumangoku. Also koshi-tanrei which is a relatively new hybrid made from Gohyakumangoku and Yamadanishiki. It’s a hybrid that was originally developed by the Niigata Prefectural Sake Research Institute I mentioned earlier as a new sake rice for Niigata.

Timothy Sullivan: What year was Koshi-tanrei first used in your sake?

Niigata Sake Rice

Koji Kawakami: We started using Koshi-tanrei in our sake about 8 years ago for the first time.

Timothy Sullivan: I want to ask a little bit about koji and yeast. I heard that you make your own yeast at your brewery?

Koji Kawakami: We have a subsidiary company that makes yeast – one of only 5 in Japan. We provide yeast to bread companies in addition to wine, and of course sake yeast. Having immediate access to the freshest yeast makes for great sake. Beyond being the freshest, our sake yeast is also proprietary.

Timothy Sullivan: I also heard you have 3 different koji rooms at your brewery. Why three koji rooms and how are they different?

Koji Kawakami: We have one Koji making machine which we developed in 1963, so that is in one room. We have another koji making room dedicated to for finest “all hand made” sakes. Lastly, we also have a state of the art koji making room at our new brewery facility that opened three years ago.

Washing Sake Rice

Timothy Sullivan: I get a lot of questions from Americans about pairing sake with food. Do you have any food pairing recommendations specifically for your sake?

Koji Kawakami:

It’s a difficult question because there is a lot of food that I think pairs well with Yoshinogawa sake but there is so much variation in styles and types of food and it ends up being a personal experience for each individual. I will say that I believe sake is an ideal beverage for food pairing

Timothy Sullivan: Do you have any message for American consumers of your sake?

Koji Kawakami: Not just for Americans but also for Japanese people as well, my message is that sake should be a product that allows people to enjoy themselves and have fun. Too often in the sake world you might hear “don’t” do this with sake or “never” serve sake this way. In my view people should drink sake the way they like it, enjoy sake for what it is and not be limited by too many rules. It’s good to think outside the box and enjoy sake in your own way and share it with everybody.

Echigo Junmai

Timothy Sullivan: What’s the future of the sake market in the US? what are your thoughts on where we’re headed?

Koji Kawakami:

Even though sake has been available in the States for a while now, in my opinion it is still very much the beginning. As I mentioned before, sake is an ideal beverage for pairing with all kinds of food and I know this trend will continue. It’s very exciting and fun for me to see where this will go. As more Americans get to drink it, there are a lot of options out there for sake right now. Before in the States, we were limited to a much smaller sake selection, but now because there is a larger selection of sakes out there, it allows Americans to experience a variety of great flavors and experiment with pairing and, again, to think outside the box when it comes to enjoying sake. We’re still at the start and there is a long way to go, but it will happen. I’m very excited and happy about it!

Timothy Sullivan: I am too! Thank you very much for taking the time today!


To learn more about Mr. Kawakami’s Yoshinogawa Sakes, please visit my Sake Notebook page for Yoshinogawa. Kanpai!