Russia there is a common misconception that sake is the same vodka, but only made from rice. In fact, Russian vodka and Japanese sake are United only by their place in the drinking culture of these two peoples.Sake is traditionally prepared only from rice, and it is a product of its fermentation, not distillation. The alcohol content of this drink is about 15 %. So it would be better to call sake a rice brew or rice beer. Most of the literary sources refer to it as" rice wine", and we will stick to this terminology.02.10.2016 17:24
Russia there is a common misconception that sake is the same vodka, but only made from rice. In fact, Russian vodka and Japanese sake are United only by their place in the drinking culture of these two peoples.
Sake is traditionally prepared only from rice, and it is a product of its fermentation, not distillation. The alcohol content of this drink is about 15 %. So it would be better to call sake a rice brew or rice beer. Most of the literary sources refer to it as" rice wine", and we will stick to this terminology.
The Japanese can't imagine their life without rice wine, and for the rest of the world sake has long been a symbol of Japan, the same as a branch of cherry blossoms, geisha or "haiku". The character of sake can be found in many geographical names and even in the names of the Japanese. In Japanese mythology, sake plays the role of magical purification. For many centuries the Japanese have worshiped deities of the rice wine dedicated to them and some Shinto shrines, such as Omiwa-no kami in Nara. During the ritual of ascension to the throne, the new Emperor necessarily makes an offering to the gods of rice and sake.
Many Japanese holidays traditionally begin with a solemn ceremony of uncorking a barrel of sake: some of the most respected people, grabbing the long handle of a wooden hammer, break its cover. During the Japanese wedding, the bride and groom must exchange three sakazuki (small, medium and large cups) with rice wine three times. This ritual, called "San-San-Kudo" (three-three-nine times), forever binds the young couple.
To list the events in the life of the Japanese, an obligatory component of which should be a Cup of sake, you can endlessly, and for each case has its own signs: in the "day of girls" in rice wine it is customary to omit the petals of peach, "children's Day" can not do without sake with iris petals, during the "holiday of chrysanthemum" this wine is drunk with chrysanthemum petals, and if in the sake of some lucky fall cherry blossom petal in the "days of spring admiring Sakura"-it will be an unprecedented success. Since 1978, the Japanese rice wine has its own holiday-on the first day of October, the Japanese solemnly celebrate sake Day.
Page of history
It is believed that the Japanese learned to cook sake at the same time with the first attempts to cultivate rice, that is, about two thousand years ago, in the era of Yayoi.
In the ancient Chinese chronicle "Wei-Zhi", Dating from the III century., refers to the country of Yamatai, whose inhabitants during the funeral ceremony drinking rice wine. Other known written record of sake refers to 720 year: from the Chronicles of "Nihongo", you can learn that in the days of the legendary Emperor Sujin his subjects worshipped the deity of rice wine Omiwa-no kami. In Japanese mythology, there are other characters associated with rice wine, such as Matsuo Jinja and Umemi Jinja. Temples devoted to them, can be seen in Kyoto.
For a long time the right to make sake possessed only a select: members of the Imperial family, their approximate and Shinto monks, and the drink was used as an offering to the gods during religious holidays and ceremonies. Only at the end of the XII century remote from the center of the village community mastered the production of its own rice wine, and so sake gradually became an integral part of the Japanese national culture.
By the way, the then method of preparing this "drink of the gods" can plunge into the horror of the modern consumer: winemakers chewed rice in the mouth and spat the resulting mass into wooden containers, which then occurred fermentation.
The heyday of production in Japan associated with the onset of the Edo period (period of Japanese history from 1600 to 1898.), about this time, the drink began to produce for sale. In 1684 was printed the book "DOMO Suzuki" ("Notes of inexperienced sacadla"). At first, the drink was produced only a few months a year. It was generally believed that the best time for making rice wine – January and February, so sake, released in these months, called "kudryashka" and valued especially. It was poured into barrels made of cryptomeria wood and sent to Edo (Tokyo) by ships.
Since the XVII century, the center of rice wine has become the area of kinki (the territory of the present prefectures of Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Hyogo). These prefectures, as well as Akita and Hiroshima, and to this day are the main areas of sake production.
As mentioned above, sake is traditionally prepared exclusively from rice. But not every rice for this purpose is suitable: of more than two hundred varieties grown in Japan, used for the preparation of rice wine can be sixty-five, and only twenty-eight varieties certified by the government.
Rice, intended for sake production, is specially grown in the Medjugorje and on the slopes of the hills (where there is a large difference in day and night temperatures) and is not available for sale. The main difference between "nakanogo" rice "cooking" his krupnoporistoj and weight. For food, it is almost not suitable, but its core is especially rich in starch, necessary for alcohol.
The best sorts of "nakanogo" rice is considered "Yamada Nishiki" (grown mainly in the regions of Mino and Kato in Hyogo Prefecture) and "Omachi".
The second most important component in the production of sake is water. It should contain potassium, magnesium and phosphorus, which contribute to the reproduction of mold fungi, as well as calcium and other elements that accelerate the release of challenging enzymes by mold fungi. But the presence of iron or manganese in the water is highly undesirable, it will not only affect the taste of the drink, but also give the traditionally colorless sake specific color.
It is believed that the best water for making sake "miyamidzu" or "Nishinomiya but Mizu" (translated as water of Nishinomiya). Its unique properties were discovered in 1840 by the Creator of the famous brands of sake "Sakura Masamune" - Yamamura Tazaemon, and this is largely determined by its subsequent prosperity. Now this event reminds monument installed in the city of Nishinomiya (Hyogo Prefecture).
Of course, not all Japanese sake is prepared on "miyamizu." Different regions, famous for their rice wine, use local water, which gives the originality of each brand of sake. So, if, for example, in the area of Nada, where the water is hard and the fermentation of congestion occurs rapidly, it turns out a characteristic "male" sake, in Fushimi or Niigata water, on the contrary, – soft, these areas are known for more gentle and "female" drinks. Some masters sake do you mix water from different regions of the country, "according to the recipes inherited from ancestors."
So, with rice and water worked out, now let's talk about how to actually make sake.
The first stage is the grinding of rice. The fact is that the shell of rice grain contains vitamins, fats, proteins and other substances that are not suitable for the preparation of rice wine. The more exposed the core, the better the result will be a drink. For ordinary sake, rice grains are ground by 10-30%. For more refined options - "ginjo-Xiu" - leave less than 60% of the grain. And for the most expensive varieties of sake - "daiginjo-Xiu" - grains of rice grind more than 50%, i.e. to the core. In the old days, this grinding was carried out with the help of hand or foot mills, now this process is, of course, much easier.
Polished rice washed water (this wears 1-2% of the grains) and soaked for a period of time for sake of the ordinary for a day, for "ginjoshu" - for a few hours.
Further, the highly steamed rice. In this case, the starch structure of rice is destroyed, and they are gelatinized, which greatly facilitates the reproduction of mold fungi and accelerates the release of saccharifying enzymes. Steamed rice is placed in a malt house, where, after cooling, it is "seeded" mold spores. As a result, after quite hard work, rice malt is obtained.
A mixture of rice malt, steamed rice and water is called "the main congestion", and the process of mixing its components – "mashing". In the" main congestion " and there is a transformation of rice into sake.
"Mashing" occurs in three stages (4 days). The mash is added portions of malt, rice and water in a certain way and at a certain temperature.
Starting from the fifth day, in the mash tank is the main fermentation. Maturation of the mash for ordinary sake occurs at a temperature of 15-17°C for 15-20 days, and for elite varieties of the drink – after 30-35 days at a temperature of 5-10°C. at the end of fermentation, the alcohol concentration in the mash can reach 20%.
The resulting mash is pressed, that is, the actual sake is separated from the"bards". The wine is first allowed to stand for 10 days, and then filtered using activated carbon. The resulting drink though rude, but, in General, ready for use. Therefore, part of the freshly prepared sake immediately goes on sale, but the bulk of the drink is pasteurized, and then aged in special sealed tanks covered with white enamel inside, 6-12 months, during which the bouquet is finally formed and the taste of sake is softened.
Then the wine is blended (mixed sake of the same class, but from different tanks, to achieve uniformity of taste), diluted with water to 15°, pasteurized again and then finally bottled.
All the variety of types of Japanese rice wine can be divided into two categories: "futsu-Xu" and "tokutei-Meise-Xu".
"Futsu-Xiu" (ordinary sake) is prepared from rice, lost when grinding only about 10% of its original weight. In such a wine in the production is usually added quite a large amount (about 30% of the total weight of the fermentation grounds) so-called "fermentation" of strong alcohol, sugar (glucose, etc.).