At our Bellevue Japanese restaurant, there’s no better drink to accompany your sushi than a glass of real Japanese sake. But what brings the sake to our tables? From the rice grains to your glass, the production of Japan’s famous rice wine is a long and complex one:
- First, the rice is milled and cleaned. This rice then needs to be steamed to achieve an appropriate consistency to be properly fermented. Half of this steamed rice is placed in a large fat and the other half is put aside to create the starter.
- The rice set aside for the starter is seeded with a species of mold known as koji. This mold starts the fermentation process, converting the starches of the rice into sugars. This process lasts between three and four days.
- When the koji starter is ready, it is mixed with the remaining rice. This is then combined with water and yeast. The resulting mixture then continues to ferment for the next few weeks.
- Once the brewer deems the mixture to be ready, it is pressed to remove the fluids. This fluid is filtered and pasteurized.
- The sake is aged about six months, then distilled with water to achieve the desired level of alcohol by volume. At this point, it is ready to be bottled, sold, and enjoyed!