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Though commonly recognized as Japanese rice wine, sake is an alcoholic beverage that has more in common with beer than with wine – and it all comes down to how sake is made. Whereas the alcohol in wine comes from the fermentation of sugars in grapes, sake is made through a step-by-step brewing process where the rice is “polished” and stripped of unnecessary protein and oil. The essential ingredient, koji-kin (a type of mold) breaks down the starches in the rice and converts them into sugars. When these sugars are fermented with the addition of yeast, the alcohol in sake begins to take shape. The sake brewing process can be somewhat long and arduous (taking about a month from initial polishing to bottling), but the outcome is a unique spirit that everyone can enjoy.

Whether you’re celebrating a traditional Japanese holiday or a relaxing evening with family and friends, sake is a fun, noteworthy addition to any party. When you visit Pascale’s Liquor Square, you will find a variety of different brands of sake to choose from, but there are essentially six basic types of sake ranging in brewing method, ingredients, and flavor profile. Below are three of these common sake types.

1. Ginjo sake comes about as a result of polishing the rice for a longer period of time, which means that the outer layers of the rice have been more thoroughly removed. Ginjo sake is generally lighter and sweeter, exuding a floral and fruity flavor profile and a smooth texture to taste.

2. Junmai sake is not as sweet at Ginjo mostly due to its different polishing ratio. Junmai sake is higher in acidity and exhibits a more full-bodied umami flavor.

3. Honjozo sake is an interesting blend between Ginjo and Junmai sakes, in that it can be acidic or sweet, light or full-bodied. Honjozo sake is also more about bringing out the flavors of the food you’re enjoying, rather than the taste of the sake itself.

The next time you’re visiting Pascale’s Liquor Square in Syracuse, NY and are looking for a unique drink to spice up your evening or party, browse our variety of sake. For more information about our inventory, stop by our store or call 315-445-0445 315-445-0445.

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