February 10, 2011 3:59 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a decent bottle of saké, and why you chose it.

It will be consumed with sushi, probably won't have facilities to heat it. Preferably less then $30. Need to bring it to a party where there will only be Saké wine. Thanks for any comments!
posted by uni verse to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
You're in luck with the lack of heating facilities - any good sake is properly served cold. My go-to when I don't have a list in front of me is Onikoroshi. I like both the flavor (sippable, dry, bit citrusy) and that my sister's dog is named Oni.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 4:06 PM on February 10, 2011

For good sake, you don't want to heat it anyway. My favorite breweries include Masumi (really dry and clean and lovely) and Kariho Namahage ("Devil's Mask") which is also dry but has a little bit of a stronger flavor.

If you want to bring something a little more surprising, you could bring unfiltered sake, (nigori) like Sho Chiku Bai Junmai or Tozai Nigori; nigori still has ground rice in it, so you have to shake it up until it's cloudy. It's much more on the sweet side but goes nicely with spicy food.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:11 PM on February 10, 2011

Oh, I just found out the brand of unfiltered sake we usually get: it's called Hakutsuru Sayuri ("Little Lily") and is pretty reasonably priced.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:15 PM on February 10, 2011

sakeone is great with food, inexpensive and widely available. Diamond or Silver. Drink chilled.
posted by fixedgear at 4:16 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you have a Yo! Sushi branch in Seattle? I can't read the label, but the sake I get from there is really nice. (reasons for choosing: it was in front of me)
posted by tel3path at 4:33 PM on February 10, 2011

Response by poster: tel3path: apparently they don't exist in the U.S.
posted by uni verse at 4:36 PM on February 10, 2011

Seconding Saké One. Tastes great, affordable, locally made (for me). You can tour their factory for free out in Forest Grove, and their tasting room has really affordable prices. I had a blast, and the factory was really interesting (especially the all-cedar room they use to culture the polished rice, complete with a little Shinto shrine).
posted by dialetheia at 4:56 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You're in Seattle; go to Saké Nomi. It's a specialty sake museum and tasting bar, and they have plenty of different kinds under $30, more depending on whether you want a 720ml bottle or are ok with a 300ml bottle. Personal favorites of mine include Kasumi Tsuru (medium-dry, clean taste, slightly acidic), Hananomai (a little richer, floral palate), Atago no Matsu (astringent but little aftertaste, "full" palate), Taisetsu (very clean and pure taste, like alcoholic mountain spring water). I've emailed the owner to see if he has any other suggestions.
posted by Errant at 5:20 PM on February 10, 2011

Let me second Onikoroshi... only when it's in the paper juice boxes from the conbini though!

Goshun 呉春 is a family favorite. Not sure if you can find it in the USA.
posted by sleepytako at 5:26 PM on February 10, 2011

Look for ginjo (premium) sake. This is why. That is all Sake Nomi sells, by the way. It is a great place.
posted by bearwife at 5:37 PM on February 10, 2011

My personal average priced goto bottles are Kan-Chiku (Junmai Dai Ginjo) and Kikusui (Junmai Ginjo). Kan-Chiku has some subtle pear notes going on that I really love while Kikusui, which is a bigger brand and more widely available I think, has almost something salty going on. Not that it's actually salty. But just like Kan-Chiku is reminiscent of orchards Kikusui is reminiscent of the ocean.

Well, to me anyways...
posted by Hairy Lobster at 6:02 PM on February 10, 2011

From the owner of Saké Nomi:

"Ones I can think of off the top of my head:

Banryu (10,000 Ways) @$24
Yuki (Snow) @$25
Hana (Flower) @$25
Ninja @$28
Hananomai (Dance of the Flowers) @$26
Kurosawa @$25
Okunomatsu Tokubetsu Junmai @$29"

I also second Kikusui, I brought a 1.8L bottle of that back home for the holidays and my non-sake-drinking friends loved it.
posted by Errant at 6:17 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Any chance you're going to be in Vancouver (the more Northerly one) any time soon? There's a place called Artisan Sake in Granville Island, where they make their own small batch sakes. They have a sampler of their sakes and are more than happy to introduce each one as you taste them (giving you a story to tell about the sake that you bring and why your sake is good). Yes, you can get a bottle for under $30.

I'm not really a connoisseur but all of their offerings are incredibly smooth, never a sour note, and each have an enjoyable distinctive aromatic bouquet.

Sake worth drinking more often than not should usually be served cold.

If you want a primer, I found Obsessives - Sake to be an interesting video, albeit, maybe from an outsider (or maybe not).
posted by porpoise at 7:34 PM on February 10, 2011

If you're not sold on sake, get umeshu (otherwise known as plum wine.) It can be found at most liquor or wine stores, but be careful you don't buy one that contains sake with plum flavor added.

It's hard to get quality umeshu in the US but Takaya is generally cheap and strong and will deliver the right taste, while Choya's Ume Blanc is a bit pricier but tastes better. Serve over ice or with some seltzer.

Even if this doesn't help this time around, try it someday!
posted by MangyCarface at 7:50 PM on February 10, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks all for the answers with many great responses! I now want to go to Sake Nomi soon (and Artisan Sake for the weekend).
posted by uni verse at 8:32 PM on February 10, 2011

Ku sweet potato vodka from Korea only 40 proof 24%has very similar mouth feel as sake.
posted by hortense at 10:29 PM on February 10, 2011

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