Nagai Sake Brewery’s Mizubasho Series Eyes the Modern Woman
As versatile as a fine sake is, the diverse selection available today is helping further the traditional Japanese brew’s growing appeal, not only among food lovers but also the modern imbiber who might be looking for a style that’s lighter and more fruit driven. Such a selection of elegant yet contemporary expressions can be found with the Mizubasho Artist Series 2020, the latest from Nagai Sake brewery (located in Japan’s Gunma prefecture) that comprises a still and a sparkling sake, as well as a sweeter style that pairs well with desserts and even cheese. As the series’ name communicates, the labels feature pastel paintings of the native Mizubasho flower, captured by artist and actor Tsurutaro Kataoka.
These unique sakes are especially food friendly, says restaurant Hashida Singapore’s Kenjiro ‘Hatch’ Hashida, who hosted a private tasting of the selection with Tatler Dining Singapore. Also present that evening were special guests Serena Adsit, executive director of commercial modelling agency Mint Management, and entrepreneur and founder of Wee Bands, Daphne Wee.
As expected, the sakes went down well with the ladies. According to the producers, they were created with the modern woman in mind, aimed at offering them choices that are easy to drink yet enjoyably complex in their own way. “I could drink Mizubasho all day, any day,” shares Adsit, an avid fan who enjoys easy access to her collection of sakes anytime she craves a drink by herself to wind down after work, or something she can easily share with friends over a meal—whatever the meal. “That’s the beauty of sake, which maybe not many people are aware of, that you don't have to only enjoy it at your Japanese dinner; I’d encourage everyone to try it with different cuisines and even in the day with high tea or brunch,” she affirms.
Particularly impressed with how each of the three sakes were distinct, delicious and balanced on their own, Adsit posits how they would be just as delightful paired with different courses in a meal. “I love the clean crisp taste of sake as it’s made with essentially rice and water, yet it can be versatile enough to pair with any cuisine that tickles your fancy,” she expounds. She also believes that “like wine, sake appreciation is a very personal thing, and there are much more flavour profiles and styles to love, explore and enjoy.” Perceptibly delighted that Mizubasho has created the artist series specifically for women, Adsit alluded to a possibly untapped market of women drinkers within and outside of Japan.
Like Adsit, Wee was just as pleased with how Mizubasho has found a new way to cater to women sake drinkers. And while she remembers how her first taste of sake was of one that was extremely smooth, sweet and easy to drink, she particularly enjoys how Mizubasho’s Artist Series of sakes boast beautiful floral notes and are not overly sweet. “They are just as easy to drink and have a pleasant silky texture on the (finish); I feel that these make it easier for anyone who isn't really into sake to be able to appreciate the drink for what it is,” she explains, adding how she too could easily see herself enjoying these with her girlfriends, over a variety of foods.
These may still be on the sweet side, but their delicate and fruity profiles make them an ideal complement to refined yet complex dishes and more delicate items. The still sake (720ml) for instance has a mild and fruity palate (think lychee and grapefruit) piqued with supple notes of umami—great with fresh sashimi, ham, pasta or even French cuisine, says Hashida.
He feels the sparkling (360ml) makes for a good appetiser, and pairs nicely with meat dishes and spicy flavours. It flaunts silky bubbles that are complemented by a fruity bouquet of apples and white peaches. The dessert sake (300ml), with its sweet notes of apricot and peaches, is one that Hashida likes to have with fresh fruits, and the occasional raisin-butter cookie sandwich.