We’ve been on a big beer and bourbon binge lately and it has made us start to question the other famous spirits in the alcohol world like sake. Sake has long been a cheap table-side drink we’re very familiar with. We shoot it and drink it with speed in mind, not taste. Not until recently have sake bars been cropping up in New York City and there’s just a few liquor stores with a healthy sake offering. The acidic, extremely dry and nail polish flavors come from cheap sake from dirt cheap restaurants. Would we honestly drink house wine or house beer from similar restaurants, definitely not (But we have).
The main issue in our sake ignorance is education. We lack the accessibility in pretty much all areas. One of our favorite bars, Angel’s Share in New York City is Japanese run (And located inside a Japanese restaurant) and littered with bourbon, scotch and heavenly cocktails, but hardly any sake. It is not the bar’s fault that they do not focus on sake, however, how are we supposed to know anything about sake?
Fast forward a trip to Hi-Collar bar that focuses on sake cocktails, and a trip to Sakaya sake liquor store in New York City and we start our journey with a pretty cool sake, Hawk in the Heavens. We would like to say we tried it for the name, but sadly no. We wanted something easy drinking, dry, smooth, and in the medium body range so we were pointed towards this.
Tentaka Kuni “Hawk in the Heavens” is made by Tentaka Shuzo brewery in Tochigi Prefecture. This is a Junmai sake in which there is no added alcohol and the rice used is milled or polished during the brewing process. For this particular sake, it is polished by 55% and that means 45% of the rice is polished away. The polishing process eliminates unwanted flavors or aromas. Gohyaku Mangoku rice is used and the yeast comes from Tochigi. Roughly 20% of the brewery’s brew is sold outside of Tochigi. This dry sake tastes smooth and vodka-like with hardly any bite. The flavors are subtle and is a great sipping sake. This should be served at room temperature as the flavors are suppressed with low temperature.
- Appearance – Light, pale tinged color with a hint of cloudiness
- Aroma – Squash, pumpkins, yeasty, grilled bread and nuttiness
- Taste – Medium body and smooth with a mixed nut and grassy flavor with a warm dry finish
- Overall – 8/10 Smooth yet earthy with a mixed nut and yeasty flavor profile
Source: Tentaka Shuzo