Sake is not a beverage I seek out. I blame too many overheated bottles of medicinal hooch slurped down in conjunction with value sushi in college.
Sake2me is not that beverage.
Recently, I had the chance to share several bottles of the sparkling sake with my cocktail friends, J. and Vinny B. While we all adore wine, we share the love ecumenically with all kinds of adult beverages..okay... Vodka. So I knew they would love to try something new. To sweeten the deal, I threw in some sushi, which seemed a natural fit, and Vinny, ever the one upper, also brought the most delicious homemade ceviche. Despite the early darkness and chill in the air, we settled down to a lively dinner and discussion. Our verdict? We really enjoyed the Sake2me. Based on junmai sake, which is Japanese for "pure rice" sake, it had clean, light flavors. Only 15% of sake made in Japan earns the junmai grade. Sake2me sources theirs from a place north of Tokyo. They bring it to the US, then infuse and bottle it here. Add pure water and a little sparkle, Sake2me uses the actual extracts and essences to get their flavors. I am a lover of all things yuzu, which is a Japanese citrus that tastes exotic, almost like lemon with hints of pine, so I had to resist the urge to keep that bottle back for myself. Instead I doled out the samples. Vinny insisted we go in order, light to dark. Here's a run down:
Asian Pear: The lightest of the bunch. I enjoyed the aromas and flavors of pear. Vinny would have liked a stronger taste of sake. J thought it tasted like a wine cooler.
Yuzu: This had tangy aromas and a delectable yuzu flavor that let more of the essential character of the sake shine through. It paired beautifully with the fresh, wild salmon ceviche.
Ginger Mango: This was the unanimous favorite. Aromas of grated ginger and mango puree wafted from this beverage. The melding of the deliciously chilled sake with the freshness of the infusions made it yummy by itself and delicious with the sushi.
Green Tea: I didn't expect to like this, but was pleased by the restrained sweetness and the toasty taste of sencha. There was also an almost chocolaty taste that was very nice.
At only 110 calories per bottle, it's a tasty portion.
As for green, the people at Sake2me use bottles that are 70% recycled and 100% recyclable. They ship the sake in bulk, which saves a lot of energy otherwise wasted schlepping extra packaging. They really think about making their product "green".
With the holidays here, Sake2Me is great if you're looking for something easy, delicious and unique to serve. Hey, back away from my Pomerol! It could also come in handy as a pleasant distraction to keep people out of your winecellar, Especially for those who say they don't like sake, this will make an unusual and festive treat. http://www.sake2me.com/