Do you want to experiment with wine—just a bit on the exotic side— but you are uncertain about the details? Sake is a great option for wine consumers who desire something a little less traditional—at least in the Western world. 

So, for your convenience, we’ve provided some Sake basics below— as well as a few great pairing ideas. Check it out here:

What is Sake?

Unlike wines made from fermented grapes, Sake is a Japanese wine made from rice. Great care is taken in the creation of traditional Sake—down to using the purest available water source. 

First, the rice is polished to remove any trace of bran. In this way, the fermented rice starch is able to develop the alcohol levels for a drink that’s become the national beverage of Japan. 

History of Sake

It is unclear when Sake was first created, but we do know it has a long history. Sake has been mentioned in literature as far back as the 3rd century. 

During WW2, there was a rice shortage, so the Japanese government limited the amount of grain used for Sake to ensure there was enough rice available for food. During this time, small amounts of sugar were added to the limited rice, to produce the desired alcohol content and continue to satisfy Sake consumers. 

How is Sake Served?

Sake is traditionally served warm and poured from a larger porcelain container into smaller porcelain drinking cups. However, it can be served at room temperature, or even cold, depending on the Sake type and the personal preference of the individual. 

Sake can also be presented in ceremonial fashion—particularly at New Years or during purification rituals—which is steeped in historic and cultural significance. 

Savory Sake Pairings 

Although temperature and Sake type varies by personal preference, here are a few basic starter keys: 

  • The spiciness of Thai food is delicious when counterbalanced with a slightly sweet Sake. 
  • If you’re enjoying a great ribeye steak, consider sipping a dry Sake for the perfect balancing act. 
  • Sushi goes great with lower alcohol, chilled Sake. 
  • For tempura, a slightly smoky Sake—with just an essence of melon flavor—will bring the right pairing to the dish. 
  • Getting to know the best Sake balance, and temperature, for your own food preference, might take a bit of experimentation, but it well worth the effort. Besides, this sort of experimentation is both delicious and fun. 

Dessert Sake Pairings

Just like with traditional grape dessert wines, Sake can also be paired with sweets Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • With a decadent chocolate cake, consider pairing a generous slice with an aged, slightly smoky, Sake. 
  • If you’re serving a fresh fruit platter, or a refreshing sorbet, try serving it with a light, sparkling, chilled Sake. 
  • For the creaminess of custards, consider a sweeter, low alcohol Sake. This sort of Sake remains lower in alcohol because the fermentation is stopped while much of the sugar is still intact—providing an extra sweetness to the drink’s flavor. 
  • Dessert served with Sake is definitely a must-try. 

Whether you’re in the mood for Sake or an amazing cocktail, you’ll definitely love the bar menu at Casa Sensei. And while you’re sipping away, check out our expansive Pan Asian Fusion menu—with creative dishes of both Asian and Latin American cuisine.

Join us on our waterfront patio for a romantic date night or a casual family get together. You’ll find us conveniently located at 1200 East Las Olas, in Fort Lauderdale. For reservations, just give us a call at 954.994.1668. We look forward to serving you.

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