Sake Pure and Simple
Sake Pure and Simple is written by a pair of powerhouses in the sake writing world - John Gauntner and Griffith Frost. If anyone can explain the world of sake to the English speaking reader, it would be this pair.
While only one out of every hundred glasses of "wine" served in the US is sake, if you look world wide it's one out of every five glasses. That's a staggering number of sake drinkers out there! The US is slowly catching up in their appreciation of this rice wine with its delicate flavors.
The book provides a wealth of information in a fun, easy to read format. For example, did you know that premium sake is virtually hangover-free? That's because the impurities that cause hangovers - called cogeners - are polished away from the rice grains in those higher end sake. Also, sake doesn't use sulfites, another cause of headaches for many wine drinkers.
Many sake bottles have a "born on date" on them - for good reason. Sake does not last forever. You generally want to drink a sake within a year of its date. Also, most sake is best appreciated cool. You can best taste its delicate flavors that way. Yes, in the wintertime the Japanese do warm up some sake to help fight off the winter chill, sort of like mulled wine. Even then, though, they are only warmed to about 102F. They should never be "hot". Think of heating up your Chardonnay - all you would taste then would be the alcohol fumes!
The book is part information, part tour guide. You get a list of sake bars, sake retailers, sake websites and even sake breweries in the US where you can visit and watch the process live.
The small size makes it easy to carry with you when you're out on a road trip, to figure out where to stop next as you hunt down sake locations.
Down side? I can get a fair number of sake from the stores around me, and pretty much NONE of them were the ones mentioned in this book. The only ones the book had that I'd seen were the ultra-cheap Gekkeikan. I'm not sure if they were writing about sake available on the West Coast which we don't get on the East Coast, but I found that very odd.
Still, there is a lot of great information here, including how to taste and throw a tasting party, recipes, and more. A perfect way to get into the world of sake and broaden your horizons!
Author: Griffith Frost, John Gauntner
Publisher: Stone Bridge Press
ISBN Number: 1880656744
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