What is
saké?

Saké is an alcoholic drink made from the fermentation of rice.

 

In Japanese, the word saké (酒) is a generic term for all alcoholic beverages. In European languages (and on this site), the name saké specifically means the brew made from the fermentation of rice that the Japanese call nihonshu (日本 酒) or seishu (清酒).


The essential ingredients of saké are water, rice, koji and yeast. But, this short list conceals a complex process.

 

Because it's usually clear and colourless, some people mistakenly associate it with distilled spirits such as gin, vodka, grappa, or shochu. It only comes from fermentation like beer and wine.

 

Its alcohol content is generally between 13% and 17% although some sakés have an alcohol content as low as 5%.

 

The creation of alcoholic beverages from rice is about 2,500 years old.

 

There are around 1,400 saké breweries scattered across the 47 prefectures of Japan. Each brewery develops and markets a more or less wide range of different sakés. The different sakés are made taking into account the local climate and the water source.

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