You may have seen in a film that a samurai drinks up sake in a small shot glass. And you may have tried sake and felt it very strong. So drink up every shot of sake within a second? Wait. Sake is totally different from shot -it is more wine than gin or vodka. The proper way of enjoying sake is to enjoy its flavor and marriage with food.
Like wine has various labels from different regions, sake also has variety of labels. I’d give you some tips how to choose sake for sake beginners. Keep in your mind the terms daiginjo-shu, ginjo-shu, and junmai-shu which are type of flavors*. Very roughly saying (yes, this is very rough), daiginjo-shu is most fruitful and often has light sweetness. It is good to drink as a start or with vegetable appetizers. Ginjo-shu is also fruitful but the taste is a bit richer. It is also good for a start or with sashimi. And junmai-shu, which has the largest number of labels and different characters, is good to enjoy during meals. Junmai-shu can be also enjoyed in different temperature; cold one is nice to have with salty dish for example and warm one is nice to enjoy with hot pot. The combination of junmai-shu and food is almost infinite. World of junmai-shu is so deep and interesting, but if you are sake beginner, please try from daiginjo-shu or ginjo-shu and then move on junmai-shu.
*Precisely saying, the type is defined by the percentage of rice polishing and the portion of polishing determines the flavor and taste of sake. Sake, using rice more than 50% polished away, is called daiginjo-shu and because it remains only core part of rice, the taste becomes pure. Ginjo uses rice with at least 40% is polished away, and junmai-shu uses rice with at least 30% is polished away. For more details about sake making process and types, check this out. Want to visit sake brewery? Check here!