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Sake is produced by the multiple parallel fermentation of rice. The rice is polished to remove the protein and oils from the exterior of the rice grains, leaving behind starch. A more thorough milling leads to fewer congeners and generally a more desirable product.

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Sake is often consumed as part of Shinto purification rituals (compare with the use of grape wine in the Christian Eucharist). During World War II, kamikaze pilots drank sake prior to carrying out their missions.