Sake to Enjoy the New Year Holidays
The New Year holidays are the time when fresh sake made from newly harvested rice is on the market, and it is the busiest time for sake.
Our recommendations for the New Year season are: shiboritate (freshly pressed sake) and usu-nigori (thin nigorizake (cloudy sake)), which are fresh shinshu (sake nouveau); acidic sake with wine flavors; low alcohol sake; and sparkling sake including the type produced in the process of secondary fermentation in the bottle, just like champagne. Kassei nigori (sparkling nigorizake), goes well with rich and savory western foods, but it requires special care because it may spill out when opening the bottle. For those who are not familiar with sake, sweet kijoshu (aged and sweet specialty sake) and sake cocktails are recommended.
For the celebration of the New Year, we suggest daiginjo and junmai daiginjo made from selected rice and manufacturing process. There is red sake using rare, ancient rice, or the premium sake called fukuroshibori, or also called tobindori, representing a process in which bags of sake mash are hung up to let the natural weight of the contents press out the final product, slowly one drop at a time, into a vessel called tobin, where sake is kept for a while before the shipment. There is also a gorgeous one containing gold leaf. New Year is a good chance to enjoy pairing of Japanese traditional New Year foods osechi and sake, so please try several different kinds of sake.
When purchasing sake, make sure when is the perfect time for opening the bottle and do not forget to drink yawaragimizu, sake chaser, while drinking sake.