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Sake 101: Frequently Asked Questions

Sake 101: Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve heard of Guinness, a popular dry stout from Ireland, Heineken from the Netherlands or soju from Korea, but how about saké from Japan? For what was known as a novelty drink before, nowadays it has become a global brand loved by booze lovers in every continent.

Have you tried saké before? If you haven’t, Tony’s Market, a Liquor Store in Cleveland, Ohio, will let you have an incredible first-time experience with our wide selection of sake available. When you visit Japan, you might find it surprising that saké does not refer to the alcoholic fermented rice beverage itself but it is considered as the collective term for all alcohol i.e. beer, liquor, whiskey, wine etc. The legitimate term for saké is nihonshu or “wine of Japan.” Technically, perhaps it is time to start addressing this beverage properly.

Tony’s Market also showcases our alcohol varieties available at our online store. So you can spend time deciding on the kind of saké you want to purchase. To help you get that perfect saké or shall we say nihonshu, here are some fascinating facts you might want to know about it.

  • What is saké?

    Saké is often referred to as ‘rice wine’ however, although saké is made from rice it goes through a brewing process (fermentation; i.e. turning starch to alcohol) which is the same as in beer.

  • What are the different types of saké?

    There are several types of saké but we will only highlight the major ones. Sake is classified according to numerous factors including the kind of rice used, the region it was produced, the degree of polishing, brewing method etc.

    • Ji-zake – is translated as the ‘local sake.’ When exploring Japan, a local cuisine, and a good jizake normally complements each other. Plus, it is fresh and reasonably priced.
    • Daiginjo and Junmai Daiginjo – ‘dai’ means big, which is considered as the super-premium sake. This type went through a scrupulous process which is at least 50% polished. It is quite expensive and normally chilled to accentuate its aroma and flavors.
    • Junmai – is a no additive added or pure rice type and has been polished at least 70%. Its flavor is rich and slightly acidic. Served warm or at room temperature.

FYI: Polishing is the initial step in the sake making process. This method means removing the external layer of the grain, allowing exposure to the starchy part. Take conscious note of levels of rice polishing, good sake typically is milled between 50% to 70%.

  • What is the alcohol content?

    Typically, it is around 16% or so, higher than wine but lower than that of spirits.

  • Should I serve it hot or cold?

    Sake experts will tell you what works best for sake whether to keep it chilled or just room temperature. But because there are no strict rules about how it should be served and only recommendations, you can always opt for something that works best for you! Just don’t forget to ask the restaurant or shop assistant for preferences.

So, have you made up your mind which sake to try? Log in to and place your order now! Kanpai! (Cheers!)

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  • 3114 Clark Ave.
    Cleveland, Ohio 44109
    Phone: 216-651-5700
    Store Hours: Mon-Wed: 9 AM – 10 PM
    Thu-Sat: 9 AM – 11 PM
    Sun: 11 AM - 10 PM
    Pharmacy Hours: Mon-Fri: 9 AM – 7 PM
                                   Sat: 10 AM – 3 PM
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