6845772083_d37fa8602c_oToday we’re talking about sake – the national beverage of Japan. This booze’s origin is unknown, as its presence predates recorded history – pretty cool, huh? The beverage is a wine made from fermented rice, but while it is officially a type of “wine,” its brewing process is much more similar to that of beer. The rice’s starch is converted to sugar before turning into alcohol, just like what happens with beers’ ingredients; grapes that produce wine already contain sugar, so there is no starch-to-sugar step.

After being stored to mature for 9 to 12 months (the required time period for sake to age), the liquor will be ready for consumption. Traditionally, sake is served with a special ceremony: it is gently warmed in a porcelain bottle called a “tokkuri” and sipped from a small porcelain cup called a “guinomi.” Normally sake can be served either chilled or warmed; it all depends on the drinker’s preference, the season, and the quality of the sake. Quality sake is typically served chilled, as its flavors and aromas will be lost if heated.

Now, if you were planning on sipping on sake alone, you should be good to go. If you were looking to mix things up a bit, here are some sake cocktails that will easily transition you into appreciating all that the spirit has to offer:

Sake Mojito: (1 serving)

  • 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • ½ lime, cut into small pieces
  • 5 oz. sake
  • ice
  • 1 oz. club soda
  • 1 sprig of mint (optional)

In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, muddle 6 mint leaves, sugar, and lime. Add sake and shake vigorously. Strain mixture into a glass filled with ice. Top off with club soda and sprig of mint.

Recipe found on justonecookbook.com

White Mountain: (1 serving)

  • 2 Tbsp. sake
  • 4 tsp. peach liqueur
  • 2 tsp. lime juice

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake gently. Strain into
a chilled glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

Recipe found on hakushika.co.jp

Grapefruit, Ginger, & Lemongrass sake cocktail: (2 servings)

  • 2 Tbsp. chopped lemongrass
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped ginger root
  • 1 Tbsp. blonde cane sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. (1 oz.) strained lemon juice
  • 6 Tbsp. strained pink grapefruit juice
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) dry sake
  • ice

In a pitcher, muddle together lemongrass, ginger, and sugar until concoction is mixed well. Add lemon juice and muddle a little longer. Stir in grapefruit juice and sake. If you let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for 5 minutes, you’ll be making a drink with stronger flavor. Strain mixture into an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake for 10 seconds to chill. Strain into two glasses filled halfway with ice and garnish with a lemongrass tip.

Recipe found on bojongourmet.com