Sake it to me
It's International Sake Day and you can drink American
Move over Cinco de Mayo and St. Patty’s Day. Today is International Sake Day.
In honor of this worldwide holiday, I'd like to introduce you to a new breed of the Japanese spirit that promises to change the way you think about cocktails.
Kirk Spahn and Trenton Ulicny met while students at Columbia University and co-founded TY KU, a premium sake company that's getting increased notoriety for changing the way Americans perceive Japanese sake. What started out as an international marketing plan for a class is now a fortified business that produces award-winning Asian wines and spirits. So far there's been no accepted premium brand name of sake in America, like, say, Patron is for tequila and Grey Goose is for vodka. TY KU hopes to change all that.
One thing the owners are striving to do is get the word out that although Japanese sake is brewed like a beer, it should be consumed like a wine. That means it's best served chilled in a glass, not hot in a small ceramic cup. Premium sake has aroma, legs and viscosity.
But what interested me most is TY KU's latest offering, Soju. A spirit of the same name is consumed worldwide, but most Americans aren't yet familiar.
Soju is similar in taste to vodka. Although, it's 30 percent lower proof, it's smoother and lower in calories. For those of you counting, Grey Goose weighs in at around 115 calories for 1.5 ounces. Soju comes in at around 65 calories.
And Soju contains a Koji enzyme, which binds it to any flavor you choose to add. You know what that means? Vodka soda drinkers (with lotsa lime) would need merely a twist to get the same effect — muddling be gone.
Next time you’re in the mood for a vodka soda or tonic, pick up a bottle of Soju at Kroger, Spec’s or Central Market and try it out for yourself. Let us know what you think.