Published on March 17th, 2014 | by Gavin0
Akashi-Tai Sake Tasting at Cocochan
I’ve got to hold my hands up and say that sake has not been big on my drinking list, and I’ve only tried it once a few years ago. But last week I was given the opportunity to have a proper sake education as James Street Japanese restaurant Cocochan is offering a tasting courtesy of Akashi-Tai Sake. For £11, you can try samples of Akashi-Tai’s most popular un-aged sakes; Daiginjo, Honjozo, and Umeshu.
Before we try the fermented rice wine, we are given a brief run down on how sake is made. From the picking of the Yamade Nishiki rice, to the Koji steaming process, it really is a fascinating story and one that is unique to sake. I also learn that the process is more closely linked to beer brewing rather than wine making, as it involves adding yeast to the rice to begin the fermenting process, with most sakes containing 17-19% ABV.
Now to the drinking. The Daiginjo and Honjozo are complete polar opposites on the tongue; the former is a complex, citrusy wine with in your face flavours, whereas the latter is much smoother and subtle, perfect to sip on a summer’s eve. To accompany the wine, we try a selection of sushi that complement each other beautifully and brings out even more hidden flavours in the sake. To finish, we are given Umeshu, a dessert style sake infused with plum and is strictly for those with a very sweet tooth.
This special tasting has been created to celebrate the Japanese Hanami season (the blooming of the Sakura aka Cherry Blossom tree). Hanami only lasts for a couple of weeks between late March and early May, and it is traditional for people to gather under the Sakura tree to drink sake and eat sushi in the sunshine. The Cocochan Akashi-Tai experience is well worth a try, but you’ll have to be quick as it’s only available until 12th April.
Akashi-Tai Sake @ Cocochan, 38-40 James St, W1U 1EU.