Being allergic to most types of alcohol is both a blessing and a curse. In one way, it keeps me from becoming so sloshed that I would be liable to do something I could easily regret, but in another it is restricting my already severely limited diet. Beer battered fish? Nope. Wine and cheese? Double negative! Tequila Sunrise? Can’t even be in the same room…

But there are a few drinks I can enjoy should I really feel a pressing need to loose my sobriety (which is almost never… save karaoke and talking to certain people). One of those drinks is sake– Japanese rice wine. Made from fragmented, sake is actually the term meaning any type of alcoholic beverage like in English the word booze applies to hard liquor to cheap wine, to even beer.

What I mean is nihonshu, though most places here in the states still call it sake (or osake if you want to get fancy). I remember when I worked in a high ranking Japanese restaurant, we had a “wine list” comprised of several pages, each with a chart explaining flavors. Bitter, dry, sweet, umai, each had a ranking in regards to these traits. Each even had their own serving instructions.

Personally, I never did anything but poured iced flutes of or heat a few dozen glasses of the cheaper stuff, but some of the really expensive types had very particular ways they were to be kept, served, and even drank. There was one that always seemed interesting– a pretty light blue bottle sporting the characters for “Live” and “sake” which boasted still living yeast as a major ingredient! It was only served by the bottle (there was a big one and a smaller 2 person one), cold, and to be finished within 24 hours.

Another interesting one was kept in a stunning purple and gold bottle and had the character for turtle (for longevity maybe?) on the front. That one I was allowed to take home (empty, of coarse) and I still have it to this day.


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