LA: What is Happy Hour like?
Jessica: With the Happy Hour, I pair a different kind of sake with oysters each week.
LA: I love oysters!
Jessica: Exactly! Oysters is such a New York thing and everyone goes for dollar oysters, but no one was doing it in the sake world. With Soul of Sake Happy Hour, you get a glass of sake plus three oysters for $12.00. It’s great! And it entices industry people to come. People stop by for a drink and it’s a great place to network between chefs or for those in the beverage industry to meet people and just hang out.
LA: That’s a really great deal and so much fun--especially for a Monday! What has been the most difficult challenge in opening up minds to sake?
Jessica: People are still intimidated by it; they don’t want to try it or they think sake is harsh or strong in flavor. But I think it’s really about navigating them towards finding something that they like. We try to say, “Maybe you don’t like those clean, crisp styles, but try the plum sakes, try the yuzu sakes. Try something different.” I would say that 90% of the time, they weren’t aware of these other flavor profiles. It’s about breaking down boundaries.
LA: Yes! There's just so much to try with sake, and that's why we offer the Tippsy Sake Box. The three bottles are like sake flights that give people a chance to find something they enjoy. What other sake do you find people enjoy most?
Jessica: It really varies so it’s kind of hard to answer. I have tons of people who come in saying they like dry sake because the idea of a white wine, maybe a Sauvignon, is dry with high acidity. But many times with sake what you get on the nose is completely different from what you get on the palate.
LA: So interesting!
Jessica: Simply saying, “I want something dry” doesn’t really exclude all the other kinds of sake. There’s sake that’s fruity with a dry finish, but then they’ll say, “Oh, but I don’t want sweet.” But just because a sake is fruity doesn’t mean that it’s sweet. So it’s tough! But something that’s crisp and clear, like Hakkaisan, is a popular intro sake. I always tell people who’ve never had sake to start there because it’s a great starting point.
LA: I really like Hakkaisan, too. It was one of the first sake I’ve ever tried and very enjoyable to drink. Another sake I tried as a beginner is Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai, and I was surprised at how good it was served warm. Can you recommend other sake that can be served at warmer temperatures?
Jessica: Generally speaking, for warm sake, it’s best if they’re fuller-body flavor. On the label, if you see key words like kimoto or yamahai, those are different types of brewing methods. Those sake are very versatile in that they’re great to be enjoyed warm or hot. My personal favorite is Daishichi Kimoto.