Move aside beer, wine and whisky because sake (酒) is quickly becoming one of the most popular alcoholic beverages among Singaporeans.
Since the introduction of sake at F&B events such as Beerfest Asia, an increasing number of locals have begun developing an interest in the fermented rice brew. There has even been an influx of Japanese eateries and restaurants offering newer, more exclusive types of sake brands.
In order to cater to the growing market of Sake fans here, the Japan Prestige Sake Association and Tanesei Trading have recently hosted Sake Appreciation Singapore for the second time.
Held at the Stamford Ballroom in Fairmont on 28 October 2016, the event featured more than 20 notable Japanese breweries offering over a 100 different kinds of sake for attendees to sample or buy home.
As soon as we arrived at the entrance, we were handed Kikichoko cups, which are often used by sake sommeliers for sake tastings. Each cup is white to reflect the transparency of the sake and the concentric blue circles at the base of the cup showcases the quality and glossiness of the sake.
With sake sommeliers sharing their knowledge on brewing sake, we learnt a lot about the craft, from the traditional brewing process to the more artisanal methods adopted by other breweries.
In brewing sake, the starch from the Sakamai rice is converted into a sugary form before being fermented into alcohol. Just like how grapes are the staple for fermenting wine, the quality of the rice is of utmost importance as it actually determines how good the sake will turn out in the end.
As we walked around the event and looked at the various booths, I noticed that there were many different grades of sake with a whole range of flavours from the more traditional ones to the fruitier alternatives.
Personally, the Yamayuzu Shibori was one of my favourites as the yuzu sake was fresh and elegantly sweeter than most due to its citrus flavour.
That being said, a strong contender would be the Hiyaoroshi, which is a seasonal autumn sake brewed with rice harvested from the previous autumn. As it is stored all throughout spring and summer, it not only allows the Hiyaoroshi to develop a rich, full-flavoured taste but it also makes it smell fragrant and absolutely aromatic.
Aside from the sake, there were also countless of food options from the buffet spread to complement the drinks.
Fresh cuts of sashimi was served with sliced lime and cucumbers. Paired with the versatility of sake, it complemented the raw fish wonderfully.
The unagi fillets served on top of the Japanese rice with spring onion and seaweed sprinkles were undeniably one of the best mains served at the buffet lineup.
An assortment of cheese wheels were also available for guests to slice into and nibble while enjoying the sake. If you think that sake only goes well with Japanese food, that’s where you’re wrong.
With a ridiculous amount of sake and food being served, the event was a huge success as everyone seemed very content having their bellies filled whilst getting to learn more about sake’s cultural roots.
A night of free-flow sake tasting served to introduce premium sake brands to the Singaporean market. With cups downed after each bottle of sake was poured again and again, it was surely every alcoholic’s dream come true.
Hopefully, more sake-related events will be in store for lovers of the drink in the future, so stay tuned for the next one.