Below, some wok tossed edamame with a soy, ginger, and sesame sauce (divoon!) and our first sample of sake, Tozai ("Well of Wisdom"):
LearnAboutWine and Marcus Pentkowski, The Sake Savant, hosted a wonderful sake tasting at Empress on the Sunset Strip. We sampled seven different sakes, starting with the lower priced (around $30 per bottle) and worked our way to the highest (over a $100 per bottle), and learned about the history and brewing techniques of sake, and how to properly serve and drink sake.
Some things that you should know about sake:
1. Sake only has a shelf life of 6 months to a year. When you buy sake the bottle should have a production date on it.
2. If you order hot sake in a restaurant chances are very good that it is the crappy stuff. And do not heat the good stuff either as heat will damage a premium sake.
3. Although those tiny little cups are very cute, it's much better to serve sake in a deeper cordial glass - you will appreciate the taste and bouquet of the sake far more.
4. Serve sake with very minimalist foods, like sushi or sashimi for example, in order to appreciate the complexity of the sake. When I told Marcus that I had gone to another sake tasting a few months ago and they had paired the different sakes with cheese, he nearly fainted! He is a purist and prefers the classic approach to pairing foods with sake (though we both concurred that some of the harder cheeses might work with a sake, but the creamier cheeses definitely no.)
5. The grain of rice used to make sake is different from the rice that we eat.
Below, the two best sakes - on the left is Ginga Shizuku ("Divine Droplets") and the unfiltered sake on the right is Rihaku Nigori ("Dreamy Clouds").
We also sampled Ama no To ("Heaven's Door"), Chiyonosono ("Sacred Power"), Sato no Homare ("Pride of the Village"), and Kanbara ("Bride of the Fox"). Marcus told us that one the best sakes around is "Silent Stream" which is sold at The Wine Store (Maestro, if you are reading this - hint, hint.)
Empress (hope to go there soon and do a review of the food)
8264 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046