We'll start off by providing you with some background information:
Sake actually originated in China about 4,500 years ago, and the Chinese developed many of the most important techniques for sake production. However, when wet-rice cultivation was introduced to Japan, this knowledge was transferred as well, and early rice farmers were among the first to introduce sake into Japanese culture.
In ancient Japan, sake production involved an entire village - each person would chew on a mixture of rice and nuts, and then spit it into a large tub. The saliva added the enzyme necessary for fermentation, and sake produced in this manner was called "kuchikami no sake", which is loosely translated to mean "chewing the mouth sake". This process was also part of a Shinto religious ceremony, however it was discontinued when it was later discovered that koji mold and yeast could produce the same results.
|Adding Koji mold to the rice at the Dewatsuru Brewery|
|Tending the steamed rice at the Manabito Brewery|
After the sake is created, there are a variety of different processes that may be implemented. The sake can be filtered, pasteurized and aged - or not. These final steps, along with variations of the brewing process, greatly affect the finished product... but we'll get to that topic next week.
Cheers from DrinkUpNY!