Kampai to sake! The rice beverage!

Kanpai to sake! The rice beverage!

Learn more on this unique beverage

In anime, we often see a character drinking a bowl of sake. Some characters that may come to mind is Tsunade-sama from Naruto (who is very bad at drinking), Gintoki Sakata from Gintama (that is, when he is not drinking his signature strawberry milk drink), the shinigami Shunsui Kyōraku from Bleach (even known to offer sake to his enemies while fighting) and the dimensional witch Yūko Ichihara from the anime xxxHolic, who loves drinking the beverage while watching the moon on her porch.

Sake means any alcoholic beverages in general in Japan but especially to the Western world, it also refers to a Japanese rice wine, which is made during a brewing process by using fermented rice and water. In the process, the starches are converted into sugar, which then are converted into alcohol. The whole process involves the grounding, washing, and steaming of rice. Some of the steamed rice is used to make koji (the yeast derived from rice). Then the koji is mixed with the remaining steamed rice and water, which then is allowed to ferment. Even more koji and rice are added to the mix and then it is filtered and bottled. The alcohol content of sake usually ranges from 14% to 16% except for ‘genshu’ sake in which the alcohol content range from 18% to 20%. In Japanese sake is actually referred to as ‘nihonshu’ and sake brewers are known as tōji.

The historic origins of this alcoholic beverage are a bit of a mystery since there is some dispute about it. In a 3rd-century text, the Book of Wei in the Records of the Three Kingdoms, Japanese drinking and dancing is mentioned. Alcoholic beverages are also mentioned in the Konjiki (712 AD), which was the first written history of Japan.

Many people think that this beverage is only served hot but actually it depends on the type of sake. It can be served chilled (reishu), at room temperature ((jōon or hiya) or heated (atsukan). It all depends on its quality, the season or drinker’s preference! High-grade sake is actually not served hot as it will loose its flavours and aroma, while the beverage is served warm as a winter drink. Low-quality sake is actually heated to mask its flavour, same with old sake. So if you drink your ‘rice beverage’ cold and your friends look at you weirdly, you can tell them that you are drinking it right as well!

Sake is a super sugoi beverage and quite tasty and yes, it can make you very tipsy, even drunk. It is a very interesting drink and if you wish to know more about sake, follow this link: http://bit.ly/guide-to-sake

In the mood for a documentary on Sake? Here is a video that explains the process in detail, please follow our link: http://bit.ly/Documentary-on-sake-brewing

Do you know the etiquette of drinking alcohol in Japan? AnimeFanatika created a guide to help you out! Please follow our link: http://bit.ly/drinking-etiquette-in-Japan

Here is AnimeFanatika’s guide on rice, to learn more about it please follow our link: http://bit.ly/Japanese-rice-explore-a-way-of-life

For any suggestions, opinions or requests please mail us at bentobox@animefanatika.co.za