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July 13, 2011

Sake Files: Sake ice and sake with ice

The hot summer continues to batter us relentlessly in Japan, so here some interesting (and unorthodox) ways to consume cold sake:
  • Samurai Rock: "Sake  on the rocks" with a slice of lime - the sourness of the lime harmonizes well with sake. If it is available, it is best to use genshu, the raw and undiluted sake popular in Japanese summers. The genshu packs so much punch that it easily withstands the dilution with ice. If you have to use another type of sake, make sure you don't dilute it too much!
  • Mizore Sake: "snow sake," instead of ice cubes add shaved ice to the sake like the Japanese kakegori. Also best with genshu.
  • Sake Sherbet: frozen sake. Sold amongst others by Kobe Shushinkan (Fukuju brand) under the name "toketsu-shu." They use Shiboritate genshu for it. You can also make it yourself: just pour sake (genshu again!) in a sturdy glass, wrap it in plastic foil and place it in your freezer. After 4 to 5 hours you should be in the happy possession of a sake sherbet! You can drink it bit by bit as it thaws, but you can also eat it with a spoon like a real sherbet. In that case, pour some honey or syrup over it!
  • "Kan" Rock: "Kan" or "o-kan" is warm sake in Japanese and that is what you add to a glass full of ice cubes. The sake should be quite hot, about 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit). When you shake the glass, the sake soon cools down. An interesting way to drink hot sake in summer!