Three “Session” Style Sakes for Summer Sipping

From left to right: Tentaka Tokubetsu Jummai “Hawk in the Heavens”; Kikusui Junmai Ginj; and Suigei “Drunken Whale”

Looking for an alternative to white wine? Sake is crisp, fresh, and meant to be sipped and savored. Touted as a health tonic by some, sake is a Japanese rice wine made by fermenting rice that has been polished, or milled down, to remove the outer layer.

If you’ve given up gluten, sake is a nice alternative to beer, although at 13-17% alcohol it’s a wee bit boozier than your typical brew. Drink it like you would a glass of wine.

Below (and pictured above) are three of the “session” style sakes you’ll find on the shelf at the Market. Each of these bottles is about 10-12 ounces, which is two servings. Perfect to throw in a picnic basket or to enjoy on the porch.

Tentaka Tokubetsu Jummai “Hawk in the Heavens”: A medium-bodied, earthy sake with flavors of mixed nuts and green grass. Considered a more rustic version of sake, it’s recommended for heartier dishes like barbecue and grilled meats.

Kikusui Junmai Ginjo: Best enjoyed chilled, this light-bodied, dry sake has a fruity aroma with hints of Mandarin orange and persimmon. It goes well with light and flavorful, even spicy dishes, as well as creamy cheeses and fruits.

Suigei “Drunken Whale”: With an aroma of rose, wood, and grapes and flavors of fennel and hops, this dry sake is a great choice for die-hard sake lovers. A nice accompaniment to summer salads and lighter fare.

Kanpai! (Cheers in Japanese)

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