Gekkeikan Black and Gold Blended Sake
I began drinking sake on the exact day I began easting Sushi. It was around the year 2000. My brother worked at Mt. Surat, a great bistro on South Street in Philadelphia while I worked at a bank on 5th and Market. For something different, we would head over to a Sushi spot at 2nd and South. There, he introduced me to both and I have been a sake drinker ever since.
Some 10 years later while living in the DC area, I would frequent Sake bars and enjoy sake flights. It was an eye-opening experience of chilled sake both clear and milky. These experiences exposed me to dry sake and sparkling sake as well.
Today, I cook with sake. I use it in any dish I would use for a white wine. It is spectacular as a wine substitute in risotto or in clams and linguini. My mussels steamed with garlic and sake aren’t bad either.
The Elegance of Sake
Anyone can enjoy sake. It isn’t heavy, but it is full of flavor and the Black and Gold is a slight move up from the very cheap stuff I’m used to purchasing. My wife purchased this bottle on a whim and now it will replace the typical $8 big bottles I have always purchased in the past.
Cheaper sake tended (I thought) to be a one note ordeal where heating the bottle to the appropriate temperature (98 degrees) removed the harshness. Of course, I was wrong. You drink different sake at different temperatures. Check out this link for some good information.
Gekkeikan can trace its roots back to 1637 when its founder Jiemon Okura founded his sake brewery in the town of Fushima principally because of the quality of the water there. The brand name Gekkeikan (which translates “crown of laurel) was adopted in 1905.
The company celebrated 380 years last year so show some respect.
Black and Gold is a bit unusual for me because it is actually a blend of 2 sake. One has rice milled to 60% and the other milled to 70%. This reflects the amount of polishing that occurs to remove the bran from the rice grain. Finer sake is polished only to 50%.
The descriptions posted on the web foretell a sipping experience which will feature full bodied honeydew, papaya, anis and roasted nuts. Black and gold is best enjoyed at room temperature rather than heated.
I have enjoyed it both ways. The honeydew is a spot on description. I get hints of watermelon type crispness rather than the papaya, but I’m no big papaya fan, so…. It has a perfect amount of sweetness. Not dry by any stretch of the imagination, but not too sweet.
Black and gold has great balance and moth feel. Not a hint of bitterness or harshness I find with lesser sake. Heating muted some of the subtle flavors and I would suggest you don’t. The bottle lasted 2 sittings!
I literally cannot wait to get a second bottle and enjoy what it could deliver from a culinary standpoint. The bright vibrant flavors will add an entirely new dimension to my cooking and when paired with what you cook, will provide an enjoyable experience.
White wine drinkers, especially those of you who enjoy sweeter varietals, take a trip to the Far East and try a little sake.