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Oct 22, 2022 | Samuel Albert
There is a well-famed myth that pouring your own sake can bring bad luck - for women, they will end up being single, and for men, they won't prosper in their work life. Well, I know what you are thinking! In that case, why take chances, right?
Pouring sake for each other is an act of politeness and basic courtesy in Japanese culture. The act of pouring the traditional drink for others creates bonding and is considered an act of friendship. It has nothing to do with the myth.
Sake is not drunk just as one would drink a casual beer or wine. Instead, it is a whole new culture that introduces us to many new things and teaches us the nuances of consuming this famed drink with reverence and honor.
Let us go through some of the commonly asked questions and their answers to learn more about the Japanese tradition related to this vintage drink.
It is perfectly okay to use the sake cup for tea. Use the porcelain or ceramic version of the sake cups instead of glass ones. Avoid an Ochonko or a Sakazuki cup, for they are way too smaller for serving tea.
A Guinomi cup is a perfect fit for tea serving, both in size and shape. A masu cup can make drinking tea too complicated as it can instill woody flavor into your tea. I guess none of us want a woody flavored tea by any chance.
Depends on your choice of sake cup. For example, an Ochonko and a Sakazuki cup hold very minimal amounts, roughly 20 mL. In comparison, a Guinomi and Masu cup contains approximately 180 mL.
Overflowing sake denotes the kindness and generosity of the host and deep appreciation of the guest.
The Masu cup is used widely in Japanese celebrations and festivities. It is often overflowing as a sign to show off abundance and wealth. Masu is synonymous with "more."
It is common to place a glass inside a Masu cup and pour the sake to its brim, often overflowing.
You can bend over and sip the sake or slightly tip the glass and pour the overflowing drink into the cup before picking up the glass to drink. Once you are done drinking the sake in your glass, you can transfer the rest of the contents from the Masu cup. Or drink it directly from the Masu cup if you are comfortable doing so.
Photo by HONG SON
Sake is not just another drink to booze but should be imbibed with deep respect and consumed in a certain style with courtesy. The same goes true for serving sake as well. There are specific ways to hold the sake flask and pour it with respect and reverence.
Pick up your sake bottle with both hands and palms facing down and pour the sake into the cup.
While you hold the cup in one hand, support the base of the cup with the other hand while the sake is being poured.
We say 'Kanpai' in Japanese instead of 'Cheers.' So, raise your sake cup to toast, say 'Kanpai,' and slightly clink your sake cups before you start drinking the sake.
The literal meaning of kanpai is empty cup.
Sake is a potent drink with a higher alcohol content than wine and beer. Therefore, it should be sipped and relished slowly, not consumed in one gulp.
Yes, you can. Sake has more alcohol content than beer and wine and can definitely get you drunk after six shots of the drink. Also, because it is a strong drink, you can get a nasty hangover if you drink too much sake. To avoid aftereffects, drink lots of water.
Sake is a magic ingredient in the kitchen that can add richness and umami flavor to any dish, be it rice, sauce, meat, or fish. It is a great way to make your meat and fish tastier and softer as it helps absorb seasonings. In addition, it can be rubbed over fish to remove the fishy smell from it. As a result, the aroma of your dish is exceptional when sake is added to your cooking.
Traditionally, it is an ingredient added to many Japanese dishes to improvise the taste and smell, enhance the flavor, and add to their nutritional value.
If you have surplus sake, you can even fix a bath of sake. It is good for your skin and helps improve blood circulation.
The sharp and sour taste of the sake becomes light, and the sweetness increases when the sake is heated.
Upscale sake is not for warming up but is best served chilled.
Only the inexpensive variety is heated.
Fill the sake bottle and close the mouth of the bottle with a cover. Next, place the sake bottle in a preheated hot water bath for a quick warmup. Remove the bottle when the sake rises in the bottle's mouth (after a couple of minutes), pour the warm sake drink into the cup, and enjoy.
Don'ts: Don't heat the sake directly over the fire as it can evaporate the alcohol.
A sake bomb is a cocktail of beer and hot/cold Japanese sake. But you don't find this anywhere in Japan, which has probably evolved in the West.
To make a sake bomb: