Entering the wide world of sake isn’t easy when you’ve only tasted hot, label-less shots at a sushi bar. For most sake neophytes, it’s like getting into craft beer after years of Bud Light or PBR. Enter Zuma, NYC's new outpost of a Japanese mega restaurant based in London. Zuma makes its own sake and employs sommelier Samuel Davies to oversee a list of about 70 more selections. Here, he shares some of his favorite bottles for a range of tastes and styles.
Junmai: Junmai sake is pure sake that is made only with water, koji mold (which converts the starch to sugar), yeast and rice that has been milled down at least 30%, leaving 70% of the grain. Typically, junmai sakes are full-bodied with bright acidity.
Bottle to try: Nanbubijin ‘Tokubetsu’ Junmai ($28) “Very soft and refreshingly light, beautiful nose of honeydew melon and a long savory finish.”
Ginjo: Ginjo is almost exactly the same as junmai, except the rice needs to be polished so that just 60% of the grain remains and some distilled alcohol is added during brewing. Ginjo sakes tend towards the lighter end with a crisp, clean floral and/or fruity flavor.
Bottle to try: Dewazakura ‘Oka’ Ginjo ($36) “Soft floral aromas, remaining delicate, minerally and supple.”