Mr & Mrs. Murai from Asabiraki Sake Brewery with Sakagura General Manager Yukie.

I didn’t know much about Asabiraki Sake Brewery in Iwate, but Sakagura gave me a chance to fix all that. They invited Brewery President Mr. Yoshitaka Murai to introduce his sakes at a special tasting event last week.

First things first. As soon as I got there I sat down and ordered the tasting set – it was an eclectic, engaging and ranged from Junmai Daiginjo to Honjozo to Umeshu. Here is a rundown of the Asabiraki tasting set I enjoyed at Sakagura:

Asabiraki Tasting Set:

The Kyokusen Junmai Daiginjo was dreamy and intricate. Hints of dark fruit on the palate with a light handed finish. This sake is expensive and extremely high quality. I chose to drink this sake first and as I was waiting for my food, I simply savored every sip. It’s wonderful as an aperitif.

Asabiraki Tasting Set

Next I tried the Honjozo Namachozo. Brewery President Mr. Murai told me that it’s been his longtime dream to bring this sake the the U.S. This sake is light and clean with a definite brightness. I really enjoyed this sake with my Sakagura tuskune Japanese chicken meatball. This Honjozo is almost tailor made for some yummy izakaya food. Another point is that this sake is delicious but made to be affordable. The bottle is also cool. Murai-san told me it was his custom design. It looks like a frozen ice, which reflects the recommendation to serve this sake a bit colder. delicious.

Asabiraki Honjozo Namachozo

Finally, I enjoyed the Ume Kanon Junmai Umeshu. This sake is made from pure junmai and has a nice balance between sweet and tart. I also enjoy plum sake like this that is lower in alcohol. the Ume Kanon clocking in at a light and breezy 12.5%. Enjoy this chilled, with dessert or even AS dessert!

Even though I didn’t know a lot about Asabiraki Brewery before, I’m sure glad I got a chance to acquaint myself with them last week. They import quite a few sakes, so I’m looking forward to learning even more. But the one thing I do know for sure – trying new sakes always leads to great, and delicious, discoveries!

It’s always fun to try a new restaurant, but it’s especially fun to try a new restaurant when they are having a big sake party! This was my recent experience with Family Recipe, a Japanese home style cooking place open since 2011 down on Eldridge Street.

On August 29th, they held their first Family Recipe’s Sake Social Night! Sakes were provided by KuramotoUS with a wonderful food menu made by Family Recipe.

One of my favorite dishes of the night was the delicious Heritage Pork Belly Buns. I wish I had a picture to show you, but I was so focused on actually eating them, there was absolutely no time for snapshots. There was time however for pairing with sake – and speaking of sake, here is an overview of the evening’s sakes:

Sake Selection at Family Recipe’s Sake Event!

As for pairing, The Chiyomusubi Ryo Junmai Ginjo was an excellent match for the pork bun – it had a great dry backbone that worked exceedingly well with the juicy heritage pork.

As for dessert, they served super cute mini ice cream cones with either sake kasu or green tea icecream. Again, I was eating too fast to take any pictures, but trust me – super cute and yummy. For the dessert-y beverages, I really enjoyed both the plum-y acidity of the Ippongi Ginkobai Umeshu and the refreshing bit of the Yuzu Omoi Junmai, which one guest described as “Sake Limoncello” – yup, that pretty well sums it up!

Thanks to Family Recipe for the great event – Can’t wait to try this place again for dinner. And I promise I’ll eat slowly enough to get pictures next time.