Bring Your Own Sake

Nell_chao_i_timothy2.jpgAfter my friend Nell heard about all the fun we had at the International cyber-sake tasting, she suggested another event: an at-home B.Y.O.S. (bring your own sake) tasting.

Bring Your Own Sake events are such fun – you never know what the heck is going to show up! I mean Sake-wise, of course! I thought it was a great idea, so we booked Urban Sake Headquarters and Nell and I started planning the menu.

Gassan_junmai_ginjo.jpgSomehow I got the brilliant idea in my head that I should make homemade chicken yakitori meatballs. Nell came over to Urban Sake Headquarters before the event and pitched right in helping in the cooking and we had a grand old time. It would never have come together without Nell’s help, that’s for sure. But, when all was said and done, we had quite a spread! Shrimp Spring Rolls, seaweed salad, yakitori vegetables and meatballs.

When the guests started to arrive, so did the sake! Here’s an overview of who brought what and how the sake hit me.

matsunoi_wishingwell.jpgScott & I contributed a Gassan Junmai Ginjo (SMV +3.5, ALC 15.5%, Seimaibuai 50%, Yoshida Brewery, Shimane Prefecture) to share. This was our starter sake and I LOVED it! I’m not just saying that because this was my contribution, but it was really delightful. Just a gentle touch of fruit and a hint of balanced sweetness made this sake really sing!

shichihonyari_junmai.jpgNell brought Matsunoi “Wishing Well” Tokubetsu Honjozo (Niigata Prefecture, ALC 15.5 %, SMV +5, Acidity 1.3). This sake was fun and we heated it up to “Nurukan” (aka 104° F). To me it tasted full and hearty. The fact that this was a honjozo lent an expansive-ness to the sake I enjoyed. Luckily KC was on hand to help me with my first attempt at heating sake at home. I learned that you heat the pan of water to boiling, then turn the heat OFF, and then place the tokkuri in the water.

mutsu_hassen.jpgI totally geeked out and bought a digital thermometer to track the heating of the sake. It hit 104° F way faster than I expected, so I’m really glad I had it on hand however big a sake-geek it made me.

Staying with the theme of warmed sake, our Nihonshu-Wunderkind KC brought the perfect sake for heating:setsugetsubijin.jpg Shichi Hon Yari Junmai (”The Seven Spearsmen” ALC 15.5%, SMV +4, Acidity 1.5, Seimaibuai 60%, Shiga Prefecture). There is something in this sake that makes it feel a little sinful when you drink it warmed. It really opens up and offers depth on the palate.

My friend Chao-I stopped by with a treasure that I really enjoyed. He brought us Mutsu Hassen Junmai Daiginjo (ALC 16%, Seimaibuai: 50%, SMV +2, Acidity: 1.4, Hachinohe Brewery, Aomori Prefecture). It’s got a fancy packaging and a fancy taste to match. Quite fruity on the palate yet balanced and complex.

Brad brought a sake that was a real mouthful: Setsugetsubijin Junmai Ginjo (ALC 14.5, Oimastsu Brewery, Oita Prefecture) This is a sake with a solid consistency and a sharp alcohol taste on the finish.

keiko_san_tim.jpgMy friend Julie brought Tenranzan Junmai Nigori (“Sake Romance”, Seimaibuai: 65%, Nihonshu-do: +2, Acidity: 1.4, Igarashi Brewery,) I ended up really enjoying this “sake romance”! It was a mild nigori with just a touch of rice-y fullness in the body, but not too much. I found it very easy to drink and quite sip-able!

Last, but not least, Keiko-san brought the Kamoizumi Shusen Junmai (“Three Dots” ALC 16%, SMV +1, Acidity 1.6 Seimaibuai 58%, Hiroshima Prefecture) This is a hearty drink that we also heated to “Nurukan”. Nell_tenranzan.jpgThis is a sake I last had at the Cha-an Warm Sake Seminar earlier this month. As I noted then, this sake is really a good fit with heating. It brings out the earthy notes and just tastes like a bundle of that cozy feeling that is just so good during winter-time. The other thing I like about “Three Dots” is that it’s easy to remember the name just by looking at the bottle!

When things were winding down and sake supplies were getting low, Scott saved the day by bringing Choux Factory cream puffs! I ate mine while sipping on a little cup of Nurukan Three Dots – Heaven! We all had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed having a B.Y.O.S. However, word on the street is that I had a mild case of veisalgia on the following morning… Not True I tell you! I was framed!