Luxury sake is an excellent aperitif before a meal. When consumed in this fashion you can experience the delicate, subtle nuances that make this drink unique. If you choose to pair sake with food, keep a few key guidelines in mind. Sake ranges from light to full-bodied, much like wine. The lightest sakes are those of the highly polished “Junmai Daiginjo” quality designation, such as pure night and pure dusk. These sakes are best alone or with light dishes such as sashimi. The most food-friendly of all the sakes is the “Junmai Ginjo,” such as pure dawn. It has excellent structure, and can handle heavier foods such as braised chicken, sweet shrimp, and marinated fish.
- Pure Dawn Pairings:
- The most versatile of the shimizu-no-mai sakes, pure dawn pairs with almost any dish that would pair with a dry, white wine.
The sturdy structure and balance of pure dawn compliments chicken, pasta, and seafood dishes. Try this sake with creamy oysters, or braised chicken with fennel.
- Pure Dusk Pairings:
- The delicate nature of pure dusk lends itself beautifully to more traditional, pan-Asian dishes.
This Daiginjo sake is well-matched with sashimi, sweet shrimp, or a light fish such as snapper.
- Pure Night Pairings:
- The most delicate of all the shimizu-no-mai sakes, pure night is best appreciated alone as an aperitif.
Most foods would overpower this sake, masking the feather-light aromatics and flavors. If it must be paired with a dish, the best choice would be the finest sashimi or caviar.