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Sake

An alcoholic Japanese drink made from fermented rice with an alcohol content of 15–17 per cent. Sake is drunk either hot or cold or used in cooking, particularly in sauces and marinades. Expensive sake is often served cold but can be warmed; cheaper sake is served hot to make it taste better. There are four types of sake, of varying quality and flavours. Ginjoshu represents the peak of the sake brewer’s art, and is made from the highest–quality milled large–grain rice. It has a fruity aroma and a complex and delicate flavour. Junmaishu is a pure sake made from rice and water with no added alcohol, flavourings or sugar and has a full–bodied flavour. Honjozoshu is made with rice, water and a small amount of added distilled alcohol. It is mild, but with a rich traditional flavour, and is good served warm. Nigorizake is a cloudy (partially filtered) sake, and may even be unpasteurized so that it is ‘alive’. Namazake is a term that refers to all unpasteurized sake and can include any of the above types. If stored in a dark, cool place, sake will keep for 6–12 months. It is not necessary to store in the fridge unless it has not been pasteurized (namazake).