For all of you who love sake, you must have known about Sake Day!
The 1st of October is designated to celebrate the start of the breweries' calendar. This is a result of the fact that rice is harvested in September and therefore put into use in October every year. At the same time, sake produced in spring that year is also considered to be ready for the market by October. For celebration, many breweries will be holding festivals and events to begin the sales of their items too.
There are even Japanese phrases - such as "Hiya-Oroshi" - associated with this tradition. Keep reading to learn more!
October - the Start of the Brewing Calendar
Although sake brewing has its own annual calendar, it does not start with January - traditionally, for the breweries a year begins with October until the end of September the year after. This tradition had been established long ago; although it wasn't until recent times that the calendar saw a shift to July ~ June, the 1st of October is still celebrated with all kinds of events, just like when we celebrate the New Year Day - but this time, for Japanese sake instead!
The Significance of Sake Day
As a beverage with a long history, sake is pretty much an item intertwined with Japanese culture.
This explains why it is not treated as just another commodity; the industry produces sake with the hope that the drink and its tradition can be properly appreciated by the next generation, and to be loved by more and more people around the world. It is no surprise that Sake Day is regarded as such an important day for sake lovers!
Recommended Sake Day Events
It is not only the breweries who hold the events - organizers and participants range from brewer associations, restaurants to alcohol retailers big and small. Among the many celebrations, "Kampai! with Sake!" is viewed as a well-known event, nowadays having real-life and even online presence inviting participants from around the globe to literally raise a glass together. There is no excuse not to join for the fun!
... Sake even Tastes Better in October!
While sake is brewed during autumn and winter, the freshly brewed product of much love and craftsmanship is not sold right away - the new sake is left to be cooled down and cared for in its tank - for the whole summer.
This is because freshly-made sake is usually considered rather rough in taste. A whole season's time of storage helps bring out the sake's subdued aroma and a flavor that is mellow and well-rounded, which is rather different from its original taste. The new product is then considered mature enough for proper release.
The phrase "Hiya-Oroshi" is actually referring to this storage process crucial to the production of Japanese sake.
At the same time, from around October to November, freshly-pressed sake is also released to promote yet another kind of taste unique to this kind of sake that has not gone through the time-consuming storage stage.
Ways to Enjoy A Good Sake
... Have it cold!
For those who want to enjoy the fresh and delicate flavor brought out by "Hiya-Oroshi", you can have a glass of it either at room temperature or after it is well-chilled! A dry sake on the rocks is a particularly good choice to bring out a refreshed and delicate taste.
... Or, Have it Hot!
On the other hand, have a cup of hot sake to enjoy its uniquely rich flavor!
There are different levels of how warm or hot one usually heats up sake - among which 40°C is considered lukewarm, and 50°C to be reaching a hot level.
As you can imagine, especially during autumn when the temperature cools off, it is just the right timing to enjoy hot but also cold sake on days while it is still warm enough for a chilled beverage!
Need a Recommended Bottle?
For those who are curious about what hot sake taste like, HOTTO will fulfill your curiosity! It is a sake recommended to be heated up to 50°C or even 60°C for you to savor a taste similar to freshly cooked rice - creamy, buttery, nutty, and full-bodied, with a memorable aftertaste. Click here to learn more about this bottle!
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