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Old 02-29-2012, 02:31 PM   #1
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Sake?

Has anyone cooked with or served sake at home; and any favorite brands.

I have a few recipes for short ribs (with rice) I would like to try:

Sake and Orange Braised Short Ribs with Egg Noodles | A Family that Eats Together

Mahatma - Slow Braised Short Ribs with Sake Sticky Rice - America's Favorite Rice

Thinking about using it as a marinade for short ribs w/ soy sauce, garlic & 5-spice, & adding a mango to the rice.

If you were to serve it as a libation, would you just heat the sake in a saucepan?

All ideas/input appreciated.

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Old 02-29-2012, 03:22 PM   #2
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Sake has changed a lot in recent years and is often served cool or slightly chilled. There is a wide variety of Sake available and some are fairly dry and really excellent. Reserved warming for the the bargain basement variety as it takes the rough edges off.

Here's a helpful website about cooking with sake and the many varieties available.

If you are going to warm sake, be cautious not to overheat as the alcohol will evaporate easily. It shoudl not be hot but only warm. Aim for between 112 and 120 degrees. Typically you would put the sake in a small decanters and heat it in a pan of warm water (warm water bath). Then dry the decanter and pour into warmed cups.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:24 PM   #3
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Not only does warming the sake take the edge off the cheaper ones, it gives it added punch, and makes it seem more exotic.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:28 PM   #4
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Actually, most Japanese restaurants I've been to nuke it. One place in Dubuque has a specific sake warmer that I guess keeps it at just the right temp if you order it warm (in the summer I go for slightly more expensive and order it chilled). At home I've always nuked it. I don't have a sake set any more, but if yours is of a ceramic type where the ceramic gets too hot to handle, heat it in a pyrex-type measuring cup, then pour it into your decanter.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:38 PM   #5
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Warm sake gets me buzzed pretty quickly.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet H View Post
Sake has changed a lot in recent years and is often served cool or slightly chilled. There is a wide variety of Sake available and some are fairly dry and really excellent. Reserved warming for the the bargain basement variety as it takes the rough edges off.

Here's a helpful website about cooking with sake and the many varieties available.

If you are going to warm sake, be cautious not to overheat as the alcohol will evaporate easily. It shoudl not be hot but only warm. Aim for between 112 and 120 degrees. Typically you would put the sake in a small decanters and heat it in a pan of warm water (warm water bath). Then dry the decanter and pour into warmed cups.
Interesting; my experience with most spirits has been that chilling masks some of the drinks' flavors.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:50 PM   #7
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Great info & tips. Thank you, all. I'm going to put short ribs on the list & check out the sake brands at the store.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:00 PM   #8
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This topic brings me fond memories of drinking hot saki with friends at Japanese restaurants long ago. These days fewer of my friends like Japanese food and fewer of them drink at all.

I understand the custom of heating up saki began as a way to make poor saki more palatable. However I think it's worth doing with any saki because I like the experience and the taste, and I agree with the others that the warmed saki gets absorbed into your blood much more quickly and has more effect than cold wine. What's nice is that the feeling evaporates quickly too because it's not that much alcohol. You can be buzzing by the time dinner is served, but relatively sober by the time you've finished your meal.

I think it's just fine to nuke your saki as long as you don't get carried away. The temperature guidelines mentioned above in the topic seem perfectly reasonable to me.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:26 PM   #9
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Interesting; my experience with most spirits has been that chilling masks some of the drinks' flavors.
I agree, which is why I find it odd that the opposite seems true (to me) when it comes to sake. Probably just my imagination!
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:11 PM   #10
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Sake bars are trendy and groceries are carrying more variety, including unfiltered first presses.

The longtime Ozeki brand (the title given to a champion sumo wrestler) makes single-portion glass bottles in the narrow-necked decanter shape, capped with a plastic hot shot cup. A warm shot, for me, is a satisfying end to a meal; feels like a cleansing flush of my esophagus and stomach.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:45 PM   #11
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I googled a bit:
Quote:
Saki can be enjoyed at a variety of temperatures, from just above freezing to approximately 130 degrees Fahrenheit. At each step of the temperature gradient, a single type of sake can have a subtly different taste. In general terms, sake becomes dryer and more flavorful when heated, and crisper and more aromatic at lower temperatures.

Warm sake has been enjoyed in Japan for hundreds of years. Warm or hot sake is referred to in general as "kanzake." Warmth increases the effect of the alcohol in sake, which is probably why most westerners who have enjoyed warm sake say that it "packs a punch." In actual fact, most sake has about 18 percent alcohol, similar to most wines. The flavor of the sake is increased by heating, as is its dryness. Because of this dryness, warm or hot sake is the perfect companion for plain foods such as sashimi (raw fish) or sushi. The dryness will also help to cut the oiliness of hot pot dishes made with fat or oil. If you are planning to serve warm or hot sake, the best way to heat it is by placing your tokkuri (jar) of sake in water that has been heated until it almost boils. The amount of time spent heating varies depending on how warm you want it to be. Generally, warm sake should be about 104 degrees F, and a good visual cue to judge this is to look into the tokkuri at the sake. If bubbles swell up on the sides of the tokkuri but do not rise, the sake is warm ("nurukan"); if the bubbles do rise, the sake is hot ("joukan"). You can use a microwave to heat sake, but you run the risk of boiling it accidentally, which could spoil the flavor of the sake.

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[QUOTE]Sake is a fermented alcoholic beverage with a long history in Japanese culture. While often called ‘rice wine’ sake is actually more like beer than wine as it is made from a grain, rice, not a fruit as wine is. Sake is a fermented, but not distilled beverage, and should not be confused with shochu, another Japanese alcoholic beverage that is distilled. The alcoholic content of sake is higher than beer, generally between 12% and 18% alcohol by volume, and has a complex, even fruit
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:08 PM   #12
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Sorry to say ISP problems prevented my post from completing successfully.

Quote:
Sake is a fermented alcoholic beverage with a long history in Japanese culture. While often called ‘rice wine’ sake is actually more like beer than wine as it is made from a grain, rice, not a fruit as wine is. Sake is a fermented, but not distilled beverage, and should not be confused with shochu, another Japanese alcoholic beverage that is distilled. The alcoholic content of sake is higher than beer, generally between 12% and 18% alcohol by volume, and has a complex, even fruity flavor when made by a high quality manufacturer. Sake characteristics run the gamut from sweet to dry, fruity to earthy, with acidity and fragrance complexities that rival western wines. Sake is far from a simple drink.Hot Sake vs. Cold Sake

Historically, sake was served warm. The reasons were twofold. Firstly, this ancient drink was created before refrigeration and was therefore habitually served that way after methods to chill food and drink were developed. Secondly, sake was also historically a much more coarse beverage, and often took up flavors from the wooden casks in which it was stored. Many off flavors were also a side effect of the fermentation process, which were masked by serving the sake at a higher temperature. More recently, better brewing techniques, more refined strains of yeast and koji, and modern storage practices have created a very different product than in the past.

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I don't particularly enjoy chilled saki. I'd rather drink a Chardonnay. I like hot saki, for a change, particularly with Japanese food. I usually switch to a chilled wine like Chardonnay when the food is served.
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