One of the most popular alcoholic drinks, Japanese Sake, is a delicate and unique alcohol with more than 100 blended constituents. It is said that alcohol is deeply affected by local climate, geography, and crop quality. Sake was initiated in Japan by using rice as its main ingredient. Wine and beer, on the other hand, were made in Europe by using grapes and barley respectively. In any case, all brewed alcohol is made through a fermentation process in which the sugar in grain and fruits is broken down into alcohol and carbonic acid gas, by enzyme of microorganism.
Sake, wine, and beer have been in existence long before the birth of Christ. Although sake was originally used as an offering to the gods, today they have become part of our lives and are enjoyed before and after meals as well as for relaxation. MUSO's sake is natural sake made from selected ingredients by traditional manufacturing processes. One can enjoy the full body of rice which can not be tasted in neither wine nor beer. Sake can be enjoyed hot or cold depending on the seasons and is becoming popular around the world.
There are several types of sake according to how they are made. Largely sake can be divided into four categories by ingredients and manufacturing processes.
Junmaishu is made from Rice-Koji and water. The word "Junmaishu" can be translated as pure rice sake. It is believed to be the origin of Japanese sake without any artificial additives. Junmaishu is made from rice that has been polished (milled) so that at least 30% of the outer portion of each rice grain has been ground away. It often has fuller, richer body than other types of sake and the acidity is a touch higher as well. It can be used as a flavoring for highly seasoned dishes since junmaishu makes its presence known a bit more assertively than lighter sake. However, it is not compatible with butter or ketchup flavors.
Honjozoshu is made from Rice-Koji, water and distilled ethyl alcohol. The use of at least 30% polished rice, which is the same as Junmaishu, and an addition of distilled ethyl alcohol (called brewer's alcohol) make Honjozoshu lighter and a bit drier than Junmaishu. It excels in sharpness and sweetness, and has a pleasant aftertaste. It can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Ginjyoshu is made from Rice-Koji, water, and distilled ethyl alcohol. Ginjoshu is made with rice in which at least 40% of the outer portion is polished away and small amount of brewer's alcohol. Its strong points are a fruity and flowery flavor and aroma, smoother passage through the throat, just like water, and a pleasant aftertaste. Refrigerating it around 10�Ž brings out the best balance of aroma and flavor of Ginjoshu. It is compatible with slightly seasoned, light dishes. Although MUSO's "Kankyo" Certified Organic Sake falls into this category, no brewer's alcohol is used (this sake lists ethyl alcohol which is referred to as brewers alcohol above).
Other industrialized Sake is made from Rice-Koji, water, distilled ethyl alcohol, and other brewing saccharide, or chemical seasonings. There is no standard for the percentage for polished rice and the amount of brewer's alcohol. Some amount of brewing saccharide and chemical seasonings is used to add artificial flavor.
First rice is polished and washed to get rid of the surface that is composed of protein and fat that impede fermentation and cause off-flavors. Then rice is steamed, cooled the mixed with Koji-Seed to make Kome-Koji. Kome Koji is added with water and yeast to make Moromi, then squeezed to make raw Sake. The raw Sake is filtered and pasteurized before preserved. When Sake becomes mature enough, they are bottled.
"Kankyo" Certified Organic Sake is junmai-ginjoshu which is produced by the first OCIA certified sake manufacturing factory. It is made with organically grown rice and natural water and brewed for a length of time. 40% outer portion of rice is polished away and no additives are used. Easier on the body as well as the environment, "Kankyo" Certified Organic Sake has a rich sweetness and a smooth aftertaste and has been popular among serious sake drinkers. Sake should be kept in a cool, dark place or refrigerated; sake can be kept for a long time with little change in quality.