Traditional Culture of Japan - Portal site of traditional crafts and culture

Ways of drinking sake: mixed with cold water, mixed with hot water, highball, sorbet


Alcoholic beverages in general can be consumed in many different ways. They can be used in cocktails or mixed with water, soda, or ice.


The same can be said of sake. By no means is it only consumed on its own. Just as with other drinks, it can be mixed with water or soda. It is sometimes even made into a kind of sorbet.


Let’s take a look at some of the special ways of drinking sake.


Mixed with water, mixed with hot water
Of course, spirits like whisky are often mixed with water or poured over ice, and so forth. On the other hand, brewed drinks such as wine, beer, and sake are typically consumed without anything being added.


However, freshly produced sake has an alcohol content as high as 20%, and is normally diluted with water on the production line to lower its alcohol content. In other words, it is normal for water to be added to sake during the course of its production, and there is no reason why it cannot be diluted with water again when it is consumed.


Among the various types of sake, genshu, which is shipped without being diluted during production, and the kimoto and yamahai types of sake that contain a lot of lactic acid are well suited to mixing with water.


Naturally, there is no problem with mixing warmed sake with hot water. It’s best to pour the hot water into the glass first, and then the warm sake.


A key point is to remember is to mix sake and water in the ratio 8:2 (8 parts sake to 2 parts water). Sake is normally shipped with an alcohol content of 15%, so if it is mixed with water in the ratio 8:2, the alcohol content is reduced to 12%. This makes sake a lighter drink with a milder effect on the body.


A drink of sake mixed with soda is called a highball. When mixing sake with soda, too, the ratio should be 8:2.


With ice and a twist of lemon, it can be transformed into a refreshing drink.


Mizore-zake is a form of cold sake that, when poured into a glass, transforms itself into a sorbet or slushie kind of consistency. In hot summer months, drinking a fragrant variety of sake in this form is a special taste treat.


Normally, sake freezes at minus 8℃. However, if it is cooled slowly, it can retain its liquid form at temperatures as low as minus 15℃. In this state it is said to be “supercooled.”


If it receives a shock while in its supercooled state, it suddenly freezes. So if sake cooled to minus 12–15℃ is poured into a glass, it instantly freezes. This is how mizore-zake is prepared. It is a sorbet-like form of sake that melts in the mouth like snow.


For making mizore-zake, sake with a fruity aroma such as ginjō-shu is recommended. Mizore-zake is a drink that can be enjoyed for its lovely appearance and for the wondrous way it transforms itself into a sorbet, as well as for its aroma and flavor.

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