One of quickest ways to immerse yourself in a different culture is to try food and drink that you might never had had before. Trying sake has been my way of learning more about Japanese culture. The amount of craftsmanship that goes into making nihonshu is brilliant. From the fruitiest junmai ginjo, to the smoothest honjozo, the world of sake has a drink for everyone.
Drinking warm sake is an experience in itself. And a sake I’d recommend drinking warm is Urakasumi Honjikomi honjozo. With a punchy flavour and smooth profile, the Honjikomoni has even more depth when served hot.
Why did I choose the bottle?
I discovered this particular kind of sake at a Japanese buffet restaurant called Sakura in Manchester. It was presented in a ceramic jug and came with a heating apparatus.
Created by the Saura Brewery in Miyagi Prefecture, the Urakasumi has been crafted with care. Urakasumi means misty bay, which conjures imagery of looking out onto a cloudy day by the seaside.
Another unique aspect of the Urakasumi is that it’s made with a rare type of table rice. Manamusume rice is only grown in Miyagi and lends to the drink’s soft texture.
The Urakasumi had similar qualities to other honjozo that I’ve tried. A savoury, nutty flavour came through on the first sip. But there was also a lightness that made it easy to drink. Notes of almond, apricot and grape mingled on the tongue. The subtle hints of fruitiness were unexpected and added to the appeal.
Having the Urakasumi served warm helped to bring out the creamy undercurrents. Sometimes, honjozo can taste a little overpowering. But the Urakasumi’s gentle profile means it can be enjoyed slowly.
For food pairings, I’d recommend having the Urakasumi with Takoyaki/octopus balls or other type of seafood. The savoury qualities of the sake really bring out the flavours of the food. It would also go well with cheese dishes.
Seimaibuai/Rice Polishing Rate: 65%