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For goodness Sake! For many people we’ve talked to, sake is thought of some sort of fire water with little taste or complexity, but this is far from the truth.

Sake is made with just three ingredients: water, rice and koji mould. Without koji, there is no sake as this gives sake its unique taste. The koji mould spores are used to break the starches into sugars in the rice to ferment it and can give amazing complexity, taste and texture. We’ve been lucky to finally be able to sell sake at Farro and have three great first-time drinker’s options to take home tonight.

As Kiwis increasingly love Japanese food, we’ve had more exposure to sake than ever before, so our appreciation of the unique flavours makes it comparable to wine in its versatility. Sake culture in Japan can be confusing and complex, but there are some simple measures you can employ to enjoy sake here in New Zealand.

Pick the right vessel

Drinking vessels for sake traditionally are small but can be glass or ceramic. A nice serving method can be a teapot or small glass flask. How to drink your sake Sculling or shooting your sake back is not considered polite and the opportunity to experience that richness of each type will be greatly reduced. Sip, taste and take your time!

Take a pour

Pouring your own sake is considered impolite so, when among friends, play the part of the host and keep everyone’s glasses topped up and they will return the favour.

Heat your sake

Warm sake can be a perfect winter warmer. While you can microwave your sake, we suggest, instead, simply filling a ‘takori’ or sake flask and placing that in a pot of water to heat to a lukewarm temperature. This gets a great result and won’t overheat your sake either.

Sake at Farro

The sake at Farro is supplied by Takara Shuzo Co. Takara, based in Kyoto Japan, was founded in 1842 and makes shochu (a grain and potato-based liquor similar to vodka), sake and light-alcohol refreshers. Our sake offering begins with some of their favourites:

Sho-Chiku-Bai Josen (720ml/6) A very traditionally made sake that can be served hot or cold. With a bold flavour, it’s crisp and round with mild dryness and 15 percent alcohol.

Gokai (300ml/12) There’s a nice traditional, clean and direct sake taste in this micro-filtered and double pasteurised sake, which can be served hot or cold. As a ‘draft’ sake, it must be stored chilled.

Mio (300ml/12)

A sparkling sake, its very light, refreshing and modern take has had great success in returning Japanese drinkers to sake. Ideal in place of champagne or bubbles and, at just 5 percent, it’s one to keep on hand, chilled for any occasion.