October 1st is International Sake Day. Why October 1st? For ages, the tradition of brewing sake has started in the fall with new sakes being released the following spring. The timing is right for the rice harvest and allows for brewing to take place during the cooler fall and winter months. Over a century ago, October 1st was designated the "Nihonshu no Hi" or "Day of Sake" to mark the new year in sake production.
Sake is a naturally fermented beverage brewed from rice, fresh spring water, koji (rice mold) and yeast. Sake may be full-bodied, fruity, dry or sweet. Just the way it takes a special type (and good quality) grape to make good wine, it takes a special type of rice to make quality sake. You can learn more about sake and sake production at http://www.sake.com/.
This year, restaurants and bars around the world are hosting special events for Sake Day and many will benefit the recovery efforts in Japan. Hopefully you can find a Sake tasting event in your city, taste some sake and contribute to the recovery.
***Special note to locals: If you live in Virginia near Chantilly or Sterling, one local event is the Northern Virginia Japanese Sake Festival at Otani. www.myotani.com/specials.htm
The Northern Virginia Japanese Sake Festival will be a hybrid of Virginia vibe and exotic Japanese food and sake tasting festival. Tickets are available now for this event which is taking place every Friday and Saturday night only through SEPTEMBER. (So it technically ends this Friday before the "official" International Sake Day on Saturday October 1st.)