The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2011

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Page 108 of 124

SAKÉ Say It with Saké F Sparkling saké is a relatively new category. At Sushi Roku, Hoshiusagi (Star Rabbit), a sweet, fruity fusion of carbonated saké and blueberries, is served as an aperitif. It has 45% of its rice pol- ished away and boasts a slightly higher proof than non-sparkling saké. rom Chef Masa Takayama's Espresso Sakétini (Chef Masa's personal saké and espresso bean–infused Grey Goose) at his CityCenter Las Vegas restaurants Bar Masa and Shaboo, to Sushi Roku's Violet Fizz (Oxley Gin, nigori saké, handpressed blackberries, fresh lemon juice and agave nectar) in West Hollywood, California, saké is becoming "the new vodka" for mixologists. And because saké is relatively low-proof—15 to 20 percent alcohol—it's also fi nding favor as a milder Martini. Yet in spite of trendy new age cocktails with this ancient libation, comparatively little is known about saké, even though it has existed since the third century. Even the name is rarely pronounced correctly. It's "sah-KAY," with the accent on the last syllable. Plus, it is not a rice wine, but more akin to beer, as it is brewed. THE MISUNDERSTOOD JAPANESE BEVERAGE IS MAKING INROADS by Richard Carleton Hacker At Shibuya at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, a bottle of their private label "Hachiko" Junmai Genshu is $59. However, these seven saké rarities are among their most expensive, and include Nanbu Bijin "Frozen Beauty" (second from right), one of two left in the world, at $2,400. Note the variety of ways in which the various sakés are served, from traditional porcelain cups to Riedel stemware. 108 / the tasting panel / september 201 1 PHOTO: RICHARD CARLETON HACKER

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