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National Sake Day – Celebrate the "Wine of Japan"

By Stephan Martin

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Having a specific day to celebrate a spirit is a great way to promote any liqueur. National Sake Day is a little different, this is not something most people have in their liquor cabinet or that they will order up at the local bar, which makes this day truly special. Whether it is to see how sake can be transformed, to pair it with food or just to try it for the first time, this sometimes forgotten rice wine.


There is likely no better place to enjoy National Sake Day than at the famous Koi in Los Angeles. Featuring a menu with traditional Japanese preparations then deconstructed and infused with modern California accents, Koi takes dining experience even a little further with their very own Sake. A fragrant, well-balanced sake with medium dry taste, Koi Sake, is of the premier Junmai Daiginjo class, and is sold exclusively to Koi diners at $85 per 500 ml bottle.


You might not know what separates on sake from another, but sakes of the premier Junmai Daiginjo class such as the Koi Sake, are made with rice that has been polished to at least 50%, and often times the rice is polished more than the required amount, eliminating a majority of the unwanted fats and proteins found in the outer layer of the grain.


Koi Sake is brewed by the Kamikokoro Brewery located in the small town of Setouchi in the Okayama prefecture, a region known for producing top quality sakes due to optimal growing conditions. Koi Sake is brewed in the traditional method using the most precise and labor-intensive techniques without the addition of distilled alcohol.


In addition to the Koi Sake, to celebrate National Sake Day, Koi is offering a variety of delicious and refreshing sake cocktails. Ken Whang, Koi Los Angeles' bar manager, has been creating sake cocktails for one of the most prestigious programs in the country.  We have two recipes for you to try out that are featured by Ken at Koi.


Sparkling Hana Blossom
1 1/2 ounces VeeV
1 1/2 ounces Hana Sparkling Sake
1 ounce lychee juice
1/2 ounce St Germain
Pour into high ball over ice and garnish with orchid and lychee.

Sparkling Hana Blossom


Rockin Cucumber
2 ½ ounces of Rock Sake
1 ½ ounces of vodka
Splash of lime juice
Fresh cucumbers
Add all in to a shaker and shake hard to breakdown the cucumbers and strain into a martini glass, garnish with a slice of cucumber.

 

 

Asian-fusion burger joint Harry Morton's Fuku Burger in LA will be launching a brand new sake cocktail menu in celebration of National Sake Day and the official start of sake brewing season in Japan.

Specialty cocktails like the Spicy Hollywood, made with Ichishima Tokubetsu sake, pineapple and jalepeño, and the Blushing Geisha,  a SCB Nigori sake cocktail with green tea, cranberry and lemon, will be featured on the new menu. For those who really want to party, Fuku Burger will also feature its signature Fuku Bombs, where they line up Asahi beers along the bar, place shots of sake on top, and tip one, creating a domino effect as the rest of the shots fall into the beers for the perfect sake bom.


They will be offering 50% of all sake cocktails all day and the Fuku Burger happy hour will run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will also feature 2-for-1 beer and wine.

Fuku Burger Sake Menu


If you are in Las Vegas for National Sake Day you can visit the Koi inside of Planet Hollywood as well as a number of other amazing restaurants.


For an opportunity to pair some world-class sake with likewise food, Chef Masa Takayama’s barMASA at ARIA is the perfect spot to give this a try. barMASA offers a small selection of hand-picked sakes and wines, the best from around the world, emphasizing varieties most suited to the strong umami properties inherent to Japanese cuisine. This is a great opportunity to enjoy sakes that are paired elegantly with cuisine and blended seamlessly into cocktails, allowing you to truly appreciate this traditional rice wine.


Shibuya at MGM Grand not only offers you sake, but they have a sake program that was created by the leading non-Japanese expert in the world, John Gautner. John offers guests tips on sake appreciation and selection, as well as tasting events and guidance on the best pairing for each dish. John used sake as the base ingredient to design an entire selection of original cocktails at Shibuya, drawing from intriguing flavors characteristic of Japanese cuisine including yuzu-citrus granite and plum-infused Japanese vodka. One of these must-try cocktails is the Kah Pah, named for the Japanese god of sake. This is composed of cucumber sorbet shaken with sake and vodka, topped with a cucumber garnish.

MGM Grand Shibuya Kah Pah Cocktail


We could not leave the iconic Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge out of a list of restaurants to visit on National Sake Day. The innovative dishes of Chef Akira Back along with the stunning panoramic views of Bellagio's iconic fountain show makes this the perfect place to enjoy your sake on this day. Yellowtail offers a hand-selected extensive sake collection, encompassing several different types from the classic to the avant-garde representing many prefectures from across Japan. Large format bottles of sake and souchu are also displayed at the 18-seat bar.

Published on Sep 29, 2012

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