Park Ave. S. and 7th Ave. Chicago, Miami
Tips from Featured Sommelier Paul Tanguay
By Jim Clarke
Keep it Chilled
Be wary of buying saké from retailers who do not keep their
product refrigerated. Like wine, which is susceptible to changes
in temperature, saké is even more prone to spoilage if
stored at room temperature. This is especially the case for premium
sakés with a higher rate of semai buai (polishing ratio),
like Ginjo-shu and Daiginjo-shu, and even more so for
the unpasteurized Namazake.
Hot: Why not?
With the increasing amount of quality saké available in
the U.S., coupled with the growing knowledge of the beverage,
many now believe that premium saké should only be consumed
cold. Though we worked hard to teach them that it is not all hot,
we are now experiencing the backlash of our efforts. Many sakés
benefit from a little warming (and please note, warming, not piping
hot as to burn your mouth). The heavier style Junmai-shu
and fortified Honjozo are great candidates for a cold
winter day. However, warming Daiginjo-shu and Namazake
will only rob them of their finer qualities.
No Reason To Celebrate
Champagne and sparkling wines are great choices for pairing with
your sushi/sashimi outings, but many believe a special occasion
is require to drink these majestic wines. With pronounced acidity
and minerality, they work wonders with raw fish. However, if Champagne’s
sticker prices scare you, look out for other bubblies like Spanish
Cava or American sparkling wines made by the “méthode
traditionelle” or the “méthode champenoise”.
The money saved could be reason to celebrate.
While many people associate sherry with their grandma’s
late-night drink, it actually pairs extremely well with sushi
and sashimi, especially chilled finos & manzanillas. These
world-class wines are not just for old-school drinkers, but should
find their way on new school diners’ tables as well.
Forget Vodka: It’s Sho-time
With an over-saturated, tasteless and odorless vodka market, shochu
presents itself as a perfect mixing alternative for tasty cocktails.
This clear alcohol (18% to 41% alc/vol.) made from either mugi
(barley), kome (rice) or imo (potato) is delicious when mixed
in traditional cocktails as a substitution for vodka or simply
blended with fresh juices.
The Rum-Tequila Alternative
Cachaça has long been considered the national alcohol of
Brazil, of which the U.S. has only seen the mass-produced, industrial
rubbing alcohols of Cachaça 51 and Pitu.
Be on the look-out for high quality brands such as Beleza
Pura, Rochinca. Aramzem Vieira & GRM making
their way into the U.S. market (for more info visit excaliburenterprise.com).
Besides making great caiprinihas, some of these cachaças
rival any great sipping rums and tequilas and show great versatility
in recreating such popular standards as the margarita, mojito