Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice
Sake (pronounced SA KEH) is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. Although commonly called "rice wine," sake is, in fact, more like a beer in that it is produced in a double-fermentation process. The starches in the rice are broken down into sugars which are then fermented into alcohol. Sake is categorized based on the amount of polishing the rice grain receives - the more polished, the better the quality.
Types of Sake
Junmai means "pure rice" as it has no alcohol added to it. The rice used to make Junmai is polished to 70% of it's original size before brewing. This sake is full bodied and slightly acidic.
Similar to Junmai except small amounts of distilled alcohol is added. Honjozo is slightly sweeter than Junmai.
The rice used is polished to at least 60% of it's original. Ginjo has a more delicate flavor and tends to be sweeter than other sakes.
This is the highest grade of sake. It uses grains of rice where 50% of the original grain is milled away to only leave the purest elements. This sake is lighter and more fragrant.
Nigorizake is unfiltered or partially filtered sake that has a milky white appearance. Nigorizake is generally sweeter than other sake.