How long can I keep an opened bottle of sake?
February 7, 2006 9:08 AM   Subscribe

How long can I keep an opened bottle of sake?

I was given a giant bottle of sake as a gift. It's about 2 feet tall and has gold flakes in it... looks pretty expensive. I think it would take me many months to drink the whole bottle. How long can I keep it after opening? And how do I store it? It's too large to keep upright in my refrigerator.
posted by kdern to Food & Drink (10 answers total)
AskMe: Storing saké and white wines

"Premium sake should be stored carefully. The best method is refrigeration, but cool temperatures (10C to 15C, or 50F to 60F) are acceptable. Avoid direct strong light. Do this and the sake will keep its original flavor for six months or so...

"Traditionally Sake is supposed to be drunk fresh, not aged. Well at least not aged in the same way wine is, within the last 12 months is best. So don't keep it too long before enjoying it."
posted by Rothko at 9:17 AM on February 7, 2006

I did see that AskMe post - but I need advice on how to store the bottle after it's opened. It's too large to drink at one time (or even in one month).

Any advice?
posted by kdern at 9:20 AM on February 7, 2006 says:

"Once you open your bottle of sake, we suggest you enjoy the complete bottle within two or three hours, and if you have friends over that's not too hard. If you simply can't finish it all, please store in your refrigerator and drink the remainder within the next two days. Premium sake, once opened, begins to oxidize, and this noticeably impacts the taste. If, for whatever reason, you cannot finish your bottle of sake, and it sits in your refrigerator or pantry for longer than three days after being opened, consider using it to prepare and cook food."
posted by scoria at 9:20 AM on February 7, 2006

You can get vacuum sealers for it. There are several kinds. One of the easier (and cheaper) methods is a rubber stopper with a little handheld pump; I got mine in a health food store.

If you have one of the motorized pump/sealers, they usually have a hose... you can get a plastic stopper with a hole in the center, and pump the air out that way.

Remember that all these seals leak, and you'll need to refresh it at least once a week, and preferably more often.

If you seal it promptly after opening, after each glass, and keep the vacuum maintained over time, I'd think it could last six months or so. If you just open it and stick it in the refrigerator.... hmm. Sake is pretty delicate, I don't think I'd assume it would last longer than a couple of weeks. I could be wrong, but that's all I'd plan on.

You could, of course, use that bottle as an excuse for a rip-roaring party. :)

On preview: Rothko, if you keep digging in that link: "Once opened, a bottle of sake, like a bottle of wine, should be consumed as soon as possible. A few days after opening, you will see a degradation in the flavor of most sake. It won't hurt you, but it will lose its fine edge."
posted by Malor at 9:22 AM on February 7, 2006

You may want to store some of it for later in a separate bottle.

If you take a clean pint sized whiskey flask style bottle, and fill it completely to the top so there is no air and cap tightly, it will keep in the fridge better even than those vacuum pump bottles.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:27 AM on February 7, 2006

You have been given the perfect chance to start that glorious path to alcoholism. I say you spend a day enjoying the bottle and a week after promising yourself you'll never do it again.
posted by schroedinger at 9:49 AM on February 7, 2006

The gold flakes, incidentally, don't make it (or signify) a better sake; they're just there to make it pretty for gift-giving (and in fact it probably indicates an average, not exceptional, sake, since the good ones don't need the gold flakes to make them good gifts.)

Don't worry about enjoying every last drop if it means you don't enjoy any of it. Since it's a huge bottle, consider it an excuse for a dinner party, and if it doesn't get finished it doesn't get finished.
posted by mendel at 10:08 AM on February 7, 2006

I think receipt of a gift like this is a polite way of suggesting you throw a sake party.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:30 PM on February 7, 2006

Timely question, as I have the same issue currently (my bottle of moderately-priced-but-still-not-cheap sake is currently half-empty [ever the pessimist]) and in my fridge. If you DO decide to throw a sake party as ikkyu2 suggests, put me on the invite list :)

Thanks to all for the responses, from a person who just stumbled across the thread.
posted by aberrant at 4:13 PM on February 7, 2006

mmm, osake! mendel is right, the gold flakes are just there to make the sake look better, so you shouldn't really feel obligated to finish the bottle down to the last drop. You can always use it instead of white wine to cook (I do it all the time because I'm a Japanese housewife and there's usually a bottle of sake lying around at home if not a bottle of wine), and most recipes for Japanese home cooking uses sake as often as soy sauce, so maybe you could use this as an excuse to cook some nikujaga or gyudon? ...If you're not vegetarian, of course.
posted by misozaki at 6:54 PM on February 7, 2006

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