Friday, July 6, 2012

Taru-Sake from Kiku-Masamune

Aged in cedar barrels, this sake from Kiku-Masamune is soft, round and slightly sweet. A fine appertif.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Kikusui Junmai Ginjo Sake

A lively, bright Japanese sake, Kikusui Junmai Ginjo pairs well with a summer afternoon. From Niigata, this sake demonstrates the toji's considerable skill via its notes of cherry blossom and delicate finish.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Japanese sake: a timeless beverage adapts

I'm very pleased with the way my story on Japanese sake for Montage Magazine (p. 44) turned out. Thanks to interviews with Philip Harper of the Kinoshita Brewery when he was in L.A. earlier this year, as well as help from Beau Timken at True Sake, there's a lot of basics covered as well as mentions of the USA's sake-only stores. Kampai!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sake cocktails: El Morocco's Morocco-tini

Sake cocktail at Desert Hot Springs' El Morocco
A welcoming cocktail at a small B&B is a very nice touch; even more refreshing when it's made from sake.  At Desert Hot Springs' El Morocco, guests are welcomed to the casbah-themed inn with a cool pitcher of sake cocktails.  I found their Morocco-tini just right for the warm desert happy hour--served in a plastic martini glass so you can drink it in one of the inn's fabulous hot mineral water pools.

The recipe:  Mix in a pitcher with lots of ice: sake (I imagine a domestic brand will do nicely), orange juice, cranberry juice, some sweet vermouth and lemon seltzer served over ice in a sugar rimmed glass.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

October 1 2011: Celebrate National Sake Day

Celebrate Sake day: try a Nigori or less filtered sake

In honor of National Sake Day, a reminder to try a new kind of sake. Above is Tozai Snow Maiden, which I tasted at the LA's Nisei Week sake tasting, a lively event. (I won a bag of premium Moatsuri rice!) Snow Maiden is sold in slender pink bottles, and is quite vibrant and not too sweet --unusual for a nigori.

Also check it out: a new kura in the U.S.. Today, the Texas Sake Company opened in Austin, Texas. (Thanks to for the tip).  While Texas might seem an unusual location, it is a great rice growing state and the rice used is organic and Texas grown.  Looks like they are releasing a nigori (Rising Star) and Whooping Crane, their Tokubetsu junmai sake. Would love to hear how they taste.  Good luck Texas Sake Company, Kampai!

And here's a link to my post on the Top 5 thing to know about sake for National Sake Day for LA Weekly's Squid Ink.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Two cool weekend sake tastings: Nisei Week sake tasting and Learn about Wine

"Lolitas" at L.A.'s 2011 Nisei week parade

Little Tokyo came alive with the sound of pounding Taiko drums during the 71st Annual Nisei week parade on August 21st.  Streets were lined with happy parade fans including costumed parade watchers who celebrated Japanese pop culture in their own colorful way.  Capping the festivities will be a sake tasting on Saturday August 20 at the Kyoto Grand Hotel. Sponsored by the Social Sake  Club, more than 50 kinds of Japanese sake will be poured.
Japanese fan dancers
Parade fans with dinos  
Some of the sake available at Toranoko in Little Tokyo
For a sure to be well informed and guided sake tasting seminar, Sunday August 21, Learn about Wine presents a delightful afternoon at Toranoko.  The restaurant's in-house sake expert Kurtis Wells will lead the presentation and introduce the eight sakes from a nama (draft) genshu to daiginjo.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sake flight at Chaya Downtown L.A.

Sake flight in the beer garden

Summertime there's a Japanese beer garden in downtown Los Angeles. You'll find a grill outside and Kirin on tap at Chaya Downtown's popular patio. Sake flight ($12) lets you taste Rock sake and Gekkeikan- correct temperature and fine presentation but not finessed enough to rock your world. However, the lovely, Japanese lantern-lit setting will.

Chaya downtown's Japanese beer garden