Today I’m here to talk to you about one of my favorite non-beer beverages, a blending sake and plum wine that I’ve been enjoying for quite a few years now. I’m not sure if this is a popular thing or not (a quick search of the internet brings back the phrase Sake Martini), but it’s a little something my friends and I started doing back in our Chinatown drinking days.
For the uninitiated, I’ll first offer a very basic introduction. Plum wine is a type of fruit wine popular in Japan and South Korea and tends to be quite sweet with a slightly tangy finish. I typically find it in screw top bottles, which depending on the style can contain liquid only or have actual plums inside soaking up all the alcohol goodness. These plums are perfectly fine to eat, but I often find them a bit too sour and tough for my tastes. The bottles I buy usually cost around $15-20 for 750 ml and have an ABV around 10-14%. The one pictured above isn’t one of my usuals, but I did end up liking it quite a bit.
Sake, on the other hand, is a Japanese rice wine with a brewing process that generally comes in the neighborhood of 15% ABV. Very light in body, it has a very distinct dry, slightly herbal taste (some call it savory) with a finishing heat that can vary widely in strength depending upon the type. Personally, the Gekkeikan brand pictured above is my go to as it costs only about $10-12 per 750 ml bottle. I find that it walks that fine line between being good to drink on its own (you’ll have plenty left once when the wine is gone) while not being so fancy that you feel bad about blending it.
So why mix two beverages perfectly enjoyable on their own? Well, I find that they have taste profiles that compliment each other perfectly. What I do is pour myself a glass of the wine and then add to it one full shot of sake. You can adjust to taste, of course, but I find those amounts to be the perfect balance between the two. Plum wine on its own (while delicious) tends to be a bit heavy on the palate and exceptionally sweet. The thinner, drier notes of sake though, mellow these out perfectly and (depending on the amount added) can give the drink the distinctive warm kick of rice on the finish. As a warning they are very easy to drink on account of the sweetness and can really start hitting you by the second glass!
Does anyone else out there do this? If so, I am very curious to hear about your preferred combinations in the comments below!