Anyone who has eaten out lately will have discovered that sake is not just for sushi bars anymore. Sake menus have gotten longer and longer at Japanese restaurants but other restauranteurs have found that sake also pairs well with eclectic offerings from barbeque to pasta. If you want to learn more about sake, in addition to the book Sake, A Modern Guide which we reviewed earlier in the year, a sake tasting is the way to go.

So how do you taste sake? Like most tastings you can easily get overwhelmed without a strategy. First and foremost, all the typical things you do at a wine tasting apply, notice how the sake pours, look at it, smell it and taste it. It’s helpful to drink sakes in a specific order, Beau Timken, owner of the only sake store in the country, True Sake suggests starting with the least polished sakes, junmai/honjozo 70% and moving on to the most milled sakes, dai ginjo 50%. Try the unfiltered style nigori, taru or cedar sake and aged sakes last. What are the categories of sake from least polished to most polished? Junmai, junmai ginjo, junmai dai ginjo, honjozo, dai ginjo.

Sake can be divided into several categories, fragrant, light and smooth, rich and finally aged and mature. Consider determining which of these categories you enjoy the most so you can focus on it.

The Joy of Sake event takes place tomorrow, at Moscone West from 6 – 8:30 pm. It is a premier opportunity to taste and enjoy sake. Over 250 sakes will be featured and there will be appetizers from 16 local restaurants such as Hog Island Oyster, Memphis Minnie’s and Roy’s. Tickets are $70 and are available online. Next week we will share highlights of the tasting.

Joy of Sake 30 August,2006Amy Sherman

  • Sam

    I went to this even two years ago and had a serious amount of fun. I am surprised I even remembered enough to be able to blog about it.


  • Amy Sherman

    It has moved to a much larger venue which should make it even better. Last year it was good but very crowded.

  • Scott

    Unfortunately I’ve never been to China (or anywhere near), but my local Chinese restaurant served this up for me nicely warmed up.
    I must be honest it didn’t really suit me, but the Chinese tea after certainly went down a treat!


Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her
friends and family were constantly asking her where
and what to eat. Three months after it launched,
Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the
top five best food blogs, praising her writing as
“smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been
featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and
magazines in the U.S. and the world.

In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a
guest contributor to the blog, and
Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes
restaurant reviews for SF Station.

Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook
reviews along with some interviews and current events.

Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer.
She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine.

She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.

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