Japanese zest meets sake
A historically famous sake brewery invents a new dessert liquor with flavours that transcend the imagination.
W hat happens when you combine a uniquely Japanese fruit with Japanese sake? You get Yama Yuzu—a bright, refreshing and delicious beverage that tastes unlike anything you’ve ever tried.
The maker of Yama Yuzu is the highly respected sake brewery Tsukasabotan. Founded over four centuries ago, the family-run brewery is located in the magnificent Kochi Prefecture, which is on an island off of mainland Japan. Remotely tucked away from the hustle and bustle of cities and surrounded by some of the most impressive natural landscapes in the country, the brewery is ideally positioned to procure some of the world’s best natural ingredients.
While it may not seem obvious, the quality of the water used in the brewing process is one of the most important elements in good sake. Unsurprisingly, Tsukasabotan’s brewery is ideally located next to the roaring Niyodo River, which flows from the Shikoku Mountains to the Pacific Ocean and is often called “Japan’s most pristine river.” The soft water from this river adds a sweet character and aroma to all of the sakes produced here and is one of the sources of the brewery’s long-standing success. The rice that is used is also carefully selected through a stringent process.
The yuzu fruit that is infused in the Yama Yuzu is no ordinary yuzu, either. Famously known for being challenging to cultivate, the yuzu in Yama Yuzu is grown and harvested by dedicated farmers at Tosa Reihoku, an agricultural co-operative in Kochi Prefecture. Yuzu trees thrive along the scenic Shimanto River, and ample amounts of the fruits’ juices are squeezed into Tsukasabotan’s legendary junmai sake to create a perfect balance of zest and rice wine. And only such fine ingredients are used in Yama Yuzu; there are no additives in this all-natural drink.
Not only does the yuzu fruit add a whole new level of flavour and fragrance to the sake, it also packs in some nutritional benefits, such as triple the amount of vitamin C that’s in lemons, loads of calcium, potassium and citric acid. These characteristics contribute to improved digestion, clearer skin, less fatigue and lower blood pressure. Combine that with the beauty benefits of sake—such as the amino acids that give your hair a lustrous shine and add suppleness to your skin—and it’s clear that Yama Yuzu is a healthier and more beneficial alternative to many other alcoholic drinks.
With a full flavour of yuzu and a crisp acidity, Yama Yuzu is great as a dessert drink that you can enjoy after a meal. It can also be a perfect accom- paniment as a light refresher for Sunday brunch. Try it served chilled or on the rocks as an exciting new substitute for your weekend mimosa. Yama Yuzu is now available at the LCBO at a reasonable price of $21.95.
This agricultural co-operative includes farming communities in five villages in the Kochi Prefecture. Committed to using environmentally friendly techniques and no pesticides, the farmers in this co-op famously deliver some of the most meticulously cultivated and selected produce in the country—with yuzu being one of their specialty goods
The art of sake
A brewing master at Tsukasabotan once said, “Brewing sake is like raising a child. You can’t force the sake to accommodate you—you must accommodate the sake. When a baby cries, a mother gets up to feed or change it at all hours of the day. In the same way, [my love for brewing sake] is unconditional and unquestioning.”