Friday, November 10, 2006

Sparkling sake re-tasting

Sparkling sake re-tasting

I tricked some unsuspecting friends into being sake guinea pigs recently with a surprise re-tasting of Harushika Tokimeki "Palpitation of Sake" sparkling sake. Pat and Sally gamely tried the sake one evening when I am certain they were expecting to relax with either a glass of red wine or a beer. The guinea pigs turned out to be excellent tasters. Below are their comments:

Sally: sparkling pear juice, pears, banana, good with foie gras, delicious

Pat: fruity, disconnect between the smell and the taste, smells like dirty socks [ed: hmmmm]

Rob: should be on the rocks

I was just as pleased with this bubbly as the first time I tried it.

(Harushika Tokimeki “Palpitation of Sake” sparkling junmai sake, SMV –80, acidity 5.5)

Available at True Sake, $14/300 ml

Thursday, November 02, 2006

You should get this book!

If you are interested in sake, you really should get the new book, "What to drink with what you eat (the definative guide to pairing food with wine, beer, spirits, coffee, tea - even water - based on expert advice from America's best sommeliers)." The authors, Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page, have done an excellent job of bringing together experts on all drinks, including sake. The exciting thing for us is that Paul Tanguay of Sushi Samba and the sake web site Of Rice and Zen, along with several other sake afficianados, has contributed many comments.

Here's how the book works: first there is some introductory information including general food and drink pairing rules. Next there is a section that lists nearly any food you can think of, including cuisines such as Thai, occasional food such as Christmas foods, and shockers such as White Castle hamburgers, Domino's pizza, and Kit Kat candy bars. While flipping through this section, you might run into an entry such as the one for oysters, which offers several sommeliers opinions (sometimes widely varying) on pairing. Another section lists drinks alphabetically and for me, of course, the most interesting section is sake. Under sake there are subcategories, such as "general," aged, daiginjo, ginjo, etc. Under each of these are lists of foods that are recommended for pairing, those that are highly recommended and foods to avoid. There are only about three pages on sake in particular, but you will be surprised by how much information is packed onto those pages. One thing that I really love is reading notes by the sommeliers. Sometimes they completely contradict each other, but that is what we have all been learning about tasting - everyone's taste is unique.

Scattered throughout the book are recipes from famous chefs, all sorts of food and drink pairing and serving tips and plenty of gorgeous photos. At the back are examples of pairing menus from some great American restaurants (including Kai, one of my favorite New York restaurants), "desert island lists" from some of America's leading beverage experts, and a sample tasting sheet for you to copy and use.

You can get the book at amazon for about $23.00, which, I am telling you, is a steal. You should get it!