What is Saké ?
Saké is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. A special type of rice is used, called huzō kōtekimai (saké rice). There are at least eighty types of saké rice. What makes the rice unique, is that the grain more hearty, contains less a smaller amount of protein and lipid, and has a greater starch component called shinpaku. The Japanese are known for their great state of health because of their diet. Saké is a staple beverage in Japan and also may have much to do with Japanese health and longevity.
What makes Saké good for you?
Several studies show that components from saké increase good cholesterol and improve blood circulation, which contributes to good heart health. In another study, it was found that there is a substance found in saké that encourages fat cells to absorb sugar in the blood, which helps lower blood sugar levels. Saké is very high in amino acids. The particular amino acids found in saké help with collagen production, cell division, protein production, and wound healing, and more.
Besides it’s health value, as an alcoholic beverage, it’s more gentle on the body. Saké contains no sulfites. People can be either allergic to sulfites or have unpleasant reactions, like headaches. Saké also is also not very acidic, so it is gentle on the throat and stomach. High Quality Sake also contains almost no congeners. Congeners are impurities from the fermentation process that can cause hangovers.
Celebrating Sake with our Tea and Saké Lounge
These are the many reasons that we love saké! There’s so much to celebrate about saké, so here at Chozu Japanese Bath Gardens we decided to transform our previous tea lounge into a relaxing, modern oasis for beautiful Japanese food and drink. Welcome to our new Tea & Saké Lounge in Ashland Oregon, where we feature and celebrate traditional rural Japanese food and drink with a pub twist.
On June 13th, we hosted a special Saké Pairing Event in honor of the Lounge opening. Our first Saké pairing event was a great success and was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. It was a special treat for saké enthusiasts and a wonderful introduction for those that wanted to learn and taste something new. The menu featured a masterful pairing of five Sakés including a Sparkling Saké and a Plum & Pepper infused Saké. These unique and delicious sakés were paired with small plates like Shiitake mushrooms braised with a black vinegar reduction as one of the favorites.
Chozu owner, Ilene Rubinstein, introduced the featured plates, while Marcus Pakiser presented the saké with an explanation of each type, as well as a wonderful overview providing a great basic understanding of saké. Saké expert, Marcus Pakiser, has been in the industry for 20 years. He lived in Japan and is well versed in Japanese culture and customs. Marcus started as a saké brewer and he represents many breweries today. He has taught many classes around North America and is featured often including Wine Spectator May 2013. We hope to host another Saké Pairing in the future, if you are interested in participating, sign up for our newsletter to hear about upcoming events.