Thirsty Thursday

Sake has sweet, fruity taste with hints of apricot

Frankie Prijatel | Senior Staff Photographer

Pair the Zipang Sparkling Sake with Sriracha, a popular chili sauce. The fruity taste of the sake pairs well with the spicy condiment.

UPDATED: Oct. 20 at 11:05 a.m.

While I was scoping out a new type of alcohol to write about, I decided to completely switch it up and try out some Zipang Sparkling Sake, which I have never tried before. Though I don’t have enough experience to compare this Japanese drink to anything, I found this beverage extremely delicious and satisfying.

Sake is a Japanese wine made by fermenting rice. The difference between sake and regular wine is the production — sake has a brewing process similar to beer, as opposed to wine’s use of fermented grapes. This particular sake is produced by secondary fermentation in a closed tank.

Zipang Sparkling Sake comes in a short and stout dark green bottle with a silver label.

From the bottle to the glass, the liquid poured clear with a hint of yellow. A light head sat in the glass for only a few seconds before disintegrating into only a few little bubbles, much like champagne.  The carbonation is moderate and the body is light to medium.

On the nose, the drink has a slight rice vinegar scent, reminding me of the smell of the sticky rice I often order with Thai food. Aromas of pear, apricots, and a hint of alcohol followed the rice vinegar aroma.

The drink is light and fruity with dry, spicy and woody flavors. Initial flavors of apricot and dried tree fruit eventually gave way to a light tannic taste with citric undertones. There was basically no aftertaste.

Sake is not always a carbonated drink, but I chose one with carbonation, as I am a huge fan of light, bubbly aperitifs.

One thing to take note about this drink is that this particular sake goes flat very quickly. About three minutes after opening the bottle, I noticed the bubbles starting to die out, and by about ten minutes the bubbles were almost completely nonexistent. Therefore, I highly recommend enjoying this within a few minutes of opening the bottle.

I drank this chilled and paired it with a meal with lots of Sriracha. The sweet fruity flavors and light carbonation of the sake balance the spicy red condiment perfectly.

Zipang Sparkling Sake is made in Kyoto, Japan but is sold at liquor stores in the United States. It sells for about $7 for a 250 mL bottle and is 7 percent alcohol.

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, Sriracha was misspelled and the chili sauce’s origin was misstated. The Daily Orange regrets this error. 

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