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What is Sake?
Sake (pronounced "sah～keh") has been produced and enjoyed in Japan for over 2,000 years. It is a brewed, fermented beverage made from rice, water, and yeast. Sake is considered to be the national drink of Japan. Once reserved for only the elite, it is now available to everyone.
Sake is well-loved by the Japanese, and is used at celebrations large and small everywhere in Japan. It is traditionally served at huge national holy celebrations, as well as at small family gatherings. Sake is now becoming popular throughout the world.
To begin the process, brown rice is polished to remove proteins and fats. The polished rice is then washed, soaked, steamed and cooled. Part of the rice is then converted into fermentable sugars called "koji ". The rice, koji, water and yeast are then combined and fermented for a few weeks until the mixture reaches about a 20% alcohol level. The fresh sake is then filtered, pasteurized and aged for about six months, until it is mature. After aging, the sake is blended, filtered and bottled.
Sake is best when consumed within one year of release. The highest quality sakes should always be served chilled or at room temperature. Everyday sakes may be warmed and served during chilly weather.
Our Sake Department
Whether you are knowledgeable about sake and other Japanese beverages, or just learning, you’ll enjoy browsing in the sake department at Tensuke Market. We carry many kinds of sake, shochu, Japanese beer and wine. The selection ranges from the everyday to the top-of-the-line. Our staff will be happy to guide you with your choices.
Sake at Tensuke Market
Tensuke Market has a wonderful selection of Japanese sake at reasonable prices. People travel from all over Ohio and even other states for our sake department. We carry the highest quality sake for your special occasions and as a gift for the connoisseur.
We also sell special appetizers that traditionally accompany sake, called otsumami. We suggest you complete your sake gathering with a sake bottle and cup set, available at Tensuke Market and Hana Gifts.
You can purchase sake at Tensuke Market every day, and after 11:00 am on Sundays.
There are different types of Japanese sake. This list may help you understand what kind of sake you are tasting or buying, and help you determine your own likes and dislikes. Within each type there are also many variations of flavor.
Junmai Pure Sake
- Rice, Koji, Water and Yeast. No distilled alcohol added.
Rice polished at least 25%.
Honjozo Pure Sake + addition of brewer’s alcohol. Rice polished at least 25%.
Ginjo Either Junmai (no alcohol added) or Honjozo (alcohol added). Rice polished at least 40%.
Dai-Ginjo Either Junmai (no alcohol added) or Honjozo (alcohol added). Rice polished at least 50%.
Namazake Special 5th designation for unpasteurized sake; incorporates all 4 above.
Nigorizake Nigorizake is a variety of sake, an alcoholic beverage produced from rice, its name translates roughly to "cloudy" due to its appearance.
Shochu is a Japanese clear distilled spirit similar to vodka. The main difference between sake and shochu is that sake is brewed, whereas shochu is distilled. Shochu translates to "fiery liquor" in Japanese kanji characters. It can be enjoyed straight, on the rocks with a squeeze of lemon, mixed with hot or cold water, with tea, or in a mixed drink.
In Japan shochu is often mixed with hot water with salty ume-plums, or mixed with oolong tea and fruit juices such as orange, peach and grapefruit.
Health conscious consumers prefer shochu over other types of beverage alcohol because of its low calories. (about 15 - 20 cal. per ounce) By law, the alcohol content of Shochu must be 45 percent or less.
There are two main types of shochu: Otsurui and Korui. Korui shochu is distilled several times and usually consumed in cocktails. Otsurui is distilled only once, leaving a distinctive smell of the source ingredient. This type of shochu is often enjoyed on the rocks and is becoming increasingly popular in Japan.
Today shochu cocktails or "Chu-Hai"
canned cocktails are sold virtually everywhere in Japan,
from a street vending machine to a 24-hour convenient store,
or at a subway kiosk. Chu-Hai drinks come with the variety
of flavors such as grapefruit, lemon, lime, peach, strawberry,
plum and many more.