SakéOne's The Grove

Saké Joins Mixology Madness

When we received an unsolicited case of saké at HQ this week, we were thrilled! Who wouldn’t be? Saké is so often overlooked, even though it so often just exactly the right thing. With sushi, obviously, but we also enjoy it with Chinese takeout, any kind of noodley soup, Vietmanese or otherwise, and for breakfast. The smooth, starchy texture and mild acidity is just simply better suited (than wine) for some cuisine.

But I experienced mixed emotions while unpacking our unexpected gift. For starters, the package contained a cocktail shaker and a book of recipes. According to Stuart Morris, a KikiSake-Shi-certified Sommelier, saké consumption in Japan is dwindling. (Kids these days prefer beer and whiskey instead, thinking of saké as something for their grandmothers.) But has it really been relegated to mixing status?

My second surprise was that the lovely bottles from SakéOne, which I was unpacking, were from Oregon. No, not imported, actually made there. A brave endeavor indeed, considering the size and competition of that other craft-brewing industry in the Pacific Northwest.

In Japan, there are many secrets to making delicious saké, but water is certainly the most important. SakéOne argues that in Oregon the ridiculous amount of rainfall they receive (120 inches a year) is then filtered through layers of sediment, basalt and sandstone imitating the purifying process that water undergoes in Japan—  where the soil is mostly volcanic. The Momokawa Junmai-Ginjo we tasted first was pretty great. Properly chilled, I would have enjoyed a glass on its own (the Plum flavored Moonstone on the other hand…), but we decided to go with it and made one of the simpler cocktails —modifying it slightly based on what we had available:

SakéOne’s The Grove

3 ounces Momokawa Saké
1 ounce pineapple juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce lime juice

Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and strain into a martini glass. We garnished ours with a slice of jalepeno left over from fajita night, but you may do as you please.

For more saké recipes, including some highly fortified Akira Kurosawa film-inspired libations from our friend Jordan Mackay, visit Saké .