Give your winter celebrations a Japanese twist! Whether you’re a lover of fine wines or a fan of fun, fruity cocktails, we’ve got sake suggestions for you.
The Nanbu Bijin Brewery is relatively new on the sake scene. Though founded as a sake merchant in 1901, it only began brewing sake in 1915. The brewery then rebranded itself in 1951, discarding its old, sweet sake recipe (all the rage at that time) and replacing it with a brew that tasted clean, focused and, above all else, beautiful.
This dedication to beautiful sake is so absolute that it’s preserved in the brewery’s name: Nanbu Bijin.
Bijin means “beautiful person” and is a Japanese moniker most com- monly reserved for gorgeous young women, fitting with the sake’s delicate, light and clean nature. The other half of the name— Nanbu—represents the region in northern Japan from which the sake hails. The area has long been known as Nanbu no Kuni. It boasts two national parks and an ample amount of fresh water.
One of the most important ingredients in sake is high-quality spring water. Being located in Nanbu no Kuni allows Nanbu Bijin to brew its sake (most of which is certified Kosher) from naturally filtered, medium-hard water.
There could be no more appropriate name for this sake than Nanbu Bijin, as it tells you exactly what to expect: a natural beauty!
Discover the natural beauty of Nanbu
From Iwate Prefecture, Japan
Junmai Daiginjo Super Premium
Striking a harmony from spring water and rice
This is master brewer Hajime Yamaguchi’s masterpiece. He has drawn on three decades of experience to create an elegant, fruity sake with a lingering, satisfying finish.
Available at top restaurants in Toronto
Shinpaku Junmai Daiginjo
An aromatic, refreshing sake that is fruity, crisp and bright
This sake offers a premium experience for an affordable price. It is fruity while maintaining a surprisingly dry finish that should appeal to lovers of crisp white wine. Aromas include strawberry, pear and apricot.
’Tis the season for sake cocktails
Beat the winter blues with the ripe taste of fruit
Looking for something a little more vibrant for your next holiday party? Sake is a versatile beverage that makes a great addition to cocktails or other mixed drinks—as these light, fruity sake varieties can attest. Check out these sweet offerings for some drinkspiration.
Strawberry Nigori Sake
This Strawberry Nigori Sake is easily the fruiti- est of the three on offer, with a strawberry flavour that is almost juicy. Some have even gone so far as to describe it as a sake fruit smoothie! That being said, the blend still preserves the full-bodied taste that is the hallmark of unfiltered Nigori sake. Though lovers of fruity and sweet drinks could easily enjoy this bottle on its own, it also serves as a phenom- enal addition to sake-based cocktails.
Yodan Jikomi Nigori
Yodan Jikomi Nigori is an easy-to-drink sake with a surprisingly clean taste. Its fruity notes come through as a distinct banana aroma, which combines with a complex balance of sweet and sour flavours to make a perfect cocktail mix. Simply combine equal parts Yodan and grapefruit juice or soda to create a refreshing wine spritzer. If you’re feeling adventurous, mix an equal amount of the sake with your favourite yogurt drink, or equal parts Yodan and milk, with a little honey added.
Yuzu Junmai 300
Yuzu is one of the most loved of the unique fruit flavours to come out of Japan. It is a citrus fruit, most similar to the lemon-lime flavours we’re used to in North America— except with a healthy dash of sweet, orange-like taste in the mix. It’s a fixture of Japanese cocktails, and the perfect complement to Homare sake in this combined bottle. As you’d expect, it is tart, sweet and above all refreshing. This Yuzu Junmai pairs well with chicken and tempura dishes.
The Homare Shuzo sake brewery is one of the most popular in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region. Its signature sake, Aizu Homare, has won gold medals 13 times in Japanese sake competitions. As well, the brewery’s Homare Junmai Dai-Ginjo won the “Champion Sake” title out of 876 bottles in the International Wine Challenge 2015, the most prestigious wine competition in the world.