Varieties of Sake

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

There is a broad range of different grades and kinds of sake. Both the cheapest and the standard grades are made by adding substantial amounts of pure alcohol to the mash just before pressing. This became standard industrial practice during the war years because it greatly increases the yield from a given quantity of rice. Sugar and various organic acids can also be added to these grades. At the other end of the scale, there are premium versions made with nothing but rice, water, and microbes, painstakingly cultured in the traditional way. The box gives examples of some kinds worth seeking out.