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Meibo Yowano Tsuki Midnight Moon Sake 500ML

I rarely drink sake. In fact, the last time I had it was probably a few years ago during some birthday ceremony at a Japanese restaurant. And yup, you guessed it, Sake Bombs. Recently, I have become interested in it, so I picked up a bottle of Midnight Moon at BevMo. The $16.99 measures 500mL and is made of a dark blue glass. It looks like an extra tall beer bottle, except noticeably narrower. The text reads:

Meibo Yowano Tsuku Midnight Moon Sake
Junmai Ginjo
Premium Pure Rice Sake
Established 1864, from Aichi-Prefecture.
Flavorful, light, and smooth type. Fruity aroma of canteloupe and green apple with touch of mineral. Well-balanced sake with a clean and refreshing impression.

Let’s decipher what that all means. First, we have to learn about the types of sake. There are four types (well six, for argument sake since junmai and ginjo varieties are often mixed):

  • honjozo-shu – lowest grade. Small amount of distilled alcohol is added. Even though this is the cheapest, lowest grade of sake, it is still considered a premium sake, much better than 90% of the stuff that is/was out there. Think of the difference betwen a table wine and a nice(r) bottle.
  • junmai-shu – No distilled alcohol is added. This sake is made strictly from rice. However, it is uncertain how much of the rice is polished. That is to say, very little.
  • ginjo-shu – From rice polished 30-50%
  • daiginjo-shu – From rice polished 50-70%

I know what you are wondering – what is polished rice? It simply means removing the outer parts of the rice grain and leaving just the core. The core is the most important part since it contains the starch, which is used in fermentation. The outer shells often impart impure and undesireable flavors into the sake.

Now that you have that crash course, lets get back to my impressions. The first drank I had, I immediately thought it smelled and tasted like a fermented rice dessert my mom used to make. I am not sure how it was made but I know it involved putting brown rice under a cheese cloth and storing it in a dark area of the house. A few days later, I got a little bowl of this sweet aromatic rice with a kick. Anyway, that really brought back memories. After that impression, my second thought was that it went down really smooth. I should have assumed it was, with an alcohol content of just 15.8%. It can also be described as being slightly milky, like the fat free “blue” milk my roommate drinks.

The flavor is certainly fruity. I am trying to put my finger on it. It is slightly acidic, citric. But what fruits? Maybe a light melon like canteloupe that hasn’t fully ripened yet. I feel there is no discernable bite from the alcohol, like other reviewers have mentioned. I do agree that the after taste/feeling in your mouth is buttery/creamy. That goes away pretty quickly though.

Earlier tonight, my roommate was making a martini and I reminded him we had some sake in the fridge and he should make a Sake-tini he’s been raving about (after ordering one a few weeks ago in LA). So he added a splash of sake to the shaker, strained, and poured his creation in the martini glass. He poured me a sip into a glass. I tasted it and you know what? It was delicious. If I had the right garnish (cucumber spear), it’d be perfect.

Here’s the recipe. Of course, you can modify it anyway you’d like for taste or preference:

2.5 oz Tito’s Vodka
1.5 oz Premium Sake
0.5 oz Dry Vermouth
1 cucumber ball (made from melon baller) or spear.
Place into a shaker half-full of ice, shake and strain into a martini glass. Or, if you want to be a purist – coat the chilled martini glass with the vermouth and pour it out then add the vokda and sake and stir just to mix. Garnish with cucumber.

Wikipedia Entry

Sake Martini Article

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