Drinks »The Elements of Sake Part 1

elements of sake astor centerwith Timothy Sullivan, at Astor Center (399 Lafayette)

The one class/tasting I’ve had my eye out for for a while has been a sake class. While I love the stuff, I’ve found that aside from adoring Wakatake, I know next the nothing about it. Well, I couldn’t find a more charming teacher than the effortlessly dapper sake samurai Timothy Sullivan: a blogger (urbansake.com), educator and the all-around Tim Gunn of sake (his advice on soju in midtown karaoke parlors: Don’t do it!).

His class is called The Elements of Sake Part One (part two pairs the beverage with food) and the next one is scheduled for January 13th. It’s an informative two hour introduction to premium (and super premium) sakes and Tim makes understanding the different classifications easy. I can now, with authority, tell you the difference between junmai and junmai daiginjo (it’s all got to do with the mill of the rice).

All of the sakes we tasted were top notch and, along with the great education we received, we got pleasantly tipsy and we got to use an America’s Funniest Videos-type controller to vote on our favorites. There were three (out of the 7 we tasted) that I loved the most: Dassai 50 Junmai Ginjo Nigori (actually my top pick, a cloudy, coarsely filtered sake), Kurosawa Junmai Daiginjo (a close second, really a tie – similar in smoothness and elegance to Wakatake), and the Ohyama Tokubetsu Junmai (crisp, cucumbery and easy to drink) with an honorable mention to the complex (I wrote down my impression as “like being in an earthen basement”) and rare Nama (unpasteurized sake), Narutotai Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu.

The setting for the class is a sparkling arena with courteous staff and an easy going crowd of students. Go!

Click here for the rest of The Elements of Sake Part 1

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Posted on November 15, 2009