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Manotsuru 3 Sakes.jpg

Kura Selections – Manotsuru by Obata Bewery

Youji's Sake Notes 2-1


I have three types of sake to pair with my food for upcoming omakase tasting dinner pop up in Town of Scituate, MA. Traditionally, we don’t pair sake with food, but time has been changed. Now in Japan, we pair food and sake like food and wine in Europe, and many sake breweries seem to adapt to the modern-day dining style.

Flavor Matters? – Pairing with Food

My question is always about what part of food to pair with sake, and what part of sake to pair with food. Texture or temperature both in food and sake is advance, and not consistent to get a pleasant result. Flavors can be changed in different temperatures and diner’s taste, but flavors have more layers to accept each other flexibly. So I usually take flavors on both sides, especially backgrounds in food and sake pairing. For the event this week, I will pair each sake with original sauces from the place, Mullaney’s Seafood.

Demon Slayer “Onikoroshi” Tokubetsu Honjozo with Mullaney’s Remoulade

Honjozo is a premium category, unlike Junmai, up to 10% (usually much less%) of neutral sake is added during fermentation process to get desired flavors, come out in the final product. “Tokubetsu” means “something special”, in this case, rice milling rate is 60% (remaining). “Onikoroshi” literally means “to slay demons” because the sake is very dry but so easy to drink so that demons get drunk”. K701, traditional yeast is used, which brings up orange oil like flavor. Sake meter value (nihonshudo) is +15, driest, but it is also crisp and smooth with mustard seeds flavor after three seconds. I plan to pair this Tokubetsu Honjozo sake and live scallop appetizer with remoulade that has mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish.  And I hope it complements blood orange vinaigrette that I will use.

Crane Junmai with Mullaney’s Kelp Pesto

Crane is made from only Koshiibuki table rice, (Others are made from Gohyakumangoku and Koshiibuki) milled to 65%. No neutral alcohol added, which doesn’t mean it’s a better sake, but you will have layers of aromas like pineapple, guava, banana candies, and yogurt. K601 traditional yeast makes the taste smooth. On my palate, the taste starts from Sado island’s beautiful soft water to cucumber with yogurt, then white bread (called shoku-pan) to wrap up, with a background layer of leafy taste like Gyokuro tea leaves, which, I think, goes well with local kelp and extra virgin oil in Mullaney’s Kelp Pesto brushed on striper in miso bouillabaisse.

Pure Bloom Off-Dry Junmai Ginjo with Mullaney’s Apricot Ginger Sauce

Pure Bloom is also Junmai Sake, so the aroma and flavors are like Crane. However, it also has Gohyakumangoku milled to 60% to give Ginjo Sake production, and they stop fermentation before all sugar turned into alcohol, so it’s sweet (Sake Meter Value is -20) and the alcohol by volume is 3% less than others. Taste is very clean. Sweetness comes out like flowers blooming without sugary after taste. I find star fruit and yogurt in taste. You can compare it to off-dry white wines like Gewurztraminer or Rheinhessen Riesling. It really goes well with sweetness, sour, and tangy from all the ingredients in the Apricot Ginger Sauce that I use for langoustine dish.

I apologize that it is a bit technical this time. Let’s finish with an old poetry.

“To keep silent and act wise is still not as good as drinking sake, getting drunk, and weeping.”

Check more of it at The Passionate Foodie: Saké Sunday: Poetry & Saké Tasting by Richard Auffery.


Would you try it and share your opinion with me? Let’s discuss at “General Discussion” in “Forum” page.



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