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Rice wine sake is a really common ingredient in Asian cuisine. Therefore, if you plan on cooking something traditionally from Asia, then you will likely need it. Unfortunately, though, it can get pretty expensive, but there are also a lot of places where they don’t sell rice wine sake. This is completely alright, as you can easily make your right at home.

What is Rice Wine?

If you don’t already know what it is, then you might want to. It’s not just a cooking ingredient, although it is most commonly used as such. But it is also drunk as a beverage, sometimes in a formal or religious context. But in the end, it doesn’t matter what the purpose of it is, as the effect it has on everything is quite simply amazing.

Although, when used in dishes, it works well too. It can be used to cut sweetness, provide a tad of heat or flavor. Generally speaking, it can make any food a little bit better.

It is made of fermented rice starch that is converted to sugar. Because of this, it can have the same sweetness or bitterness that red and white wines have. But sake differs just a little bit. It has a higher alcohol content, around 18-25%. This means that you can quickly get drunk with it because it goes down smoothly. Be careful with this, as the hangover it causes is much worse than what you are used to.

But there is one thing why many people from western countries love rice wine. Mainly dieters. It has almost no calories or carbs, even though it can get really sweet. It’s a mystery, but one that we don’t mind.

How Can You Make Sake at Home?

There are a ton of ways you can make it, but some are more popular than others. We will give you two methods to do this with, both of them will end up as amazing wines, although the recipes are much different.

1. “The perfect rice wine sake recipe”

Don’t let the name fool you. The result will be about the same as others. But it’s one of the most straightforward recipes out there, and even if it’s only your first time making sake, you will be able to do it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg of rice
  • Koji
  • About 6-8 liters of water (read instruction on the koji)

Optional:

  • Up to 200 grams of sugar per liter of water
  • Sweetener equivalent to the sugar

How to make Sake:

Wash the rice sake

First, you need to wash the rice sake. Put it in a strainer if possible, and run tap water on it until the water that is coming out is completely clear. Make sure you don’t miss any parts as a dirty batch of rice can ruin your sake.

Add boiled water

After that, you need to put the rice in a pot and pour boiling water over it. The level of the water should be at least 2-3 centimeters above the rice to make sure everything gets enough moisture and heat. Once you’ve got that done, you need to cover the pot and leave it to sit for 60 minutes.

Strain

When the time is up, you need to strain it with a sieve, then steam it. This process is more straightforward than you would think. Take a pot, fill it halfway, and put the filter on top. Cover it (not too tightly) and leave it for 25 minutes. You will likely need to do it in smaller batches to get done with the whole kilogram of rice, but to make the process faster, you can use a steam cooker.

Once the whole batch is done, you will need to try a little bit. It should be mild and slightly sweet. If this description fits it, then you need to cook for another 5-10 minutes, so the rice begins to fall apart slowly. When that happens, you need to cover a tray with a baking sheet and pour the rice on it evenly.

Cool sake

Let it cool, then spread the yeast on it evenly. Once you have got all that done, you need to stir it. Make sure the yeast gets everywhere because if it doesn’t, your sake will be ruined quite quickly.

After that, put the rice in a glass, plastic, or enamel fermentation container. Put it in a dark room where the temperature is around 20-28 °C always. Then leave it for 30 days. Yes, it takes a lot of time, but it will pay off.

Strain

When the time is up, you need to strain. Grab a cheesecloth and place it over the rim of the container. Let everything flow out, and once every drip is out of the mixture, change the container you are putting it into. You want a different glass for the sake you press. Hold the cheesecloth and squeeze the rest of the moisture out. That is a different kind of sake.

The first kind is better quality, should be drank cold and fresh.

The second one is meant to drink warm and can be stored for a little while.

2. “The makeshift recipe for the sake”

This one is the best for those who don’t want to measure temperatures and amounts of ingredients. This recipe will be a godsend if you’re going to make sake because “why not?”.

Ingredients:

  • Jasmine rice
  • Water (enough to cover the rice while cooking)

Optional:

  • Caster sugar

How to make:

Cook the rice, so it becomes smooth and soft. Strain the water accordingly. If you want a sake that has a lower alcohol content, then keep more water in the mixture, if you want more, then strain as much as possible.

Pour it into a container and stir while adding the caster sugar. This can be almost any amount, but make sure that you put at least 5% of the rice’s weight in it in the form of sugar. If you don’t put enough in it, then the fermentation will not be enough, and you will be left with some weird mixture that is not fit for eating or drinking.

Put it in an airtight container and leave for at least a week. If you let it ferment for longer, then it might or might not have a better effect, but most sakes tend to be done after a week. Leaving it for longer will make sure that it is fully prepared, though, so if you have a “better safe than sorry” mentality, then you should let it sit.

The final straining is the same as the “perfect recipe.” Use a cheesecloth and separate the poured and the squeezed sake.

Final Word on Rice wine

If you are a wine lover and enjoy a glass every once in a while, then making sake at home is a great idea. It can be a pretty good hobby and can make your love for wine even stronger. Even better, this time, you will have a personal connection to your beverage. After all, it will be the product of your hard work and knowledge. You earned that glass of sake! You deserve it!

So try one of these recipes and bottoms up!

Have you ever drank sake before? Would you like to make some at home? Tell us down in the comments below!

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