With the global popularity of sushi and Japanese tapa restaurants around the world, many are accustomed to sipping either cold or warm sake but few know the level of training it takes to become a sake sommelier. In fact, the Sake Sommelier Academy offers courses in 13 countries across the world. The annual Kikisake-shi World Championship Tournament pits a group of 25,000 certified sake sommeliers against each other with the objective of honouring the world’s best sake sommeliers.
In Japan, the word ‘sake’ refers to alcohol in a general sense, but the type of sake most people drink in sushi restaurants is made of fermented rice or koji, and water.
If one is wondering what the optimal temperature for sake is, the answer is that it depends on the type you’re drinking. There are four main types of sake and each group has an optimal temperature.
In Japan, there are over 1,600 producers of sake. There are large and small-scale producers and the people who work in sake breweries are referred to as toji. It takes about 45 days to make one vat of sake, which is relatively quick compared to wine which has to age for lengthy periods.
While sake brewing was always reserved for men, now some female sake brewers in Japan are receiving a lot of attention for breaking the mold. There is even a group called the Japanese Women’s Sake Industry Group for female master brewers.
According to Japanese culture, when receiving sake, it is most polite to hold out your sake cup with one hand and to place the other hand underneath. One must then take a sip before placing the cup down on the table. A great technique to test the next time you find yourself eating sushi.