March 17, 2008

Some serious Talk about Sake

In Japan you have your sho^chu and your sake. We don't pronounce sake like it looks, which is to say like, 'for pete's sake', we say the ke like the ke in keg. So instead of for pete's sake, you say, sa with a dropped jaw and ke like kay, so in effect you are really saying sakay. The problem with this pronunciation is that you will have failed to say SAKE correctly. Let me try this... one more time... In Japan, you have for your alcoholic beverage satisfaction, 1 of 3 choices which may or may not fit your pallete. Upper or middle or indifferent and otherwise, your choices all boil down to how much rice and in what way it was fermented.
The three choices for alcoholic beverages in Japan are; 1. Sho^chu, 2. Sake, or 3. Bi-ru. Sho^chu are the honorific 'spirits' made of all sorts of wheat + fermented rice. Sake is the Japanese equivalent of our fermented grape wine, and Bi-ru is beer made from fermented rice. You may be familiar with some of the well known Japanese beers, but you may not know that they were made more out of rice than from anything else.
As for alcoholic content, ranges are from anywhere past the Sake threshold of 15º degrees all the way up to 37º-39º or thereabouts. Sake varies in alcoholic content anywhere that our equivalent grape wine varieties exist, that is roughly between 7-15 % or as the Japanese 7º-15º degrees. And of course beer as we might be familiar with comes in at from between 3.5% to sometimes nowadays with "Wicked ale" or "Bastard Ale" up to a whopping 8% or 8º.
This brings me to formulate a hypothesis about what the º sign means in English. If in English we say 15% in Japanese it is said to contain 15º. With that said, it is to say that º = %. Got that?