The world’s largest sake-tasting event outside Japan comes to New York on September 20, 2012 featuring 359 premium labels for New Yorkers to sip and savor along with sake-friendly appetizers.
Front and center among the bottles of junmai, ginjo, and daiginjo: 84 gold-medal winners from the 2012 U.S. National Sake Appraisal, as well as 201 labels not available in the United States. All have been judged at the most rigorous blind tasting outside Japan, with ten experts under the auspices of the Japan National Research Institute of Brewing, who evaluate sake for aroma, taste, balance, and overall harmony. The Joy of Sake is the public tasting that follows the Appraisal.
“Sake is not the piping hot beverage most people perceive it to be,” says Chris Johnson, a senior judge at the U.S. National Sake Appraisal and owner of Manhattan’s Bao Noodles. “My hope is for guests to leave with a new appreciation and a better understanding of what they personally like. They’re going to get to taste the ‘good stuff’ here.”
The event is designed for novices as well as sake aficionados. Large placards describe the different qualities of junmai, ginjo, and daiginjo sakes, and cards in front of each self-serve bottle identify which have won gold or silver medals, and which are not available in the United States. This year 171 sake breweries from 39 prefectures are participating in the event.
“The popularity of sake has tripled in the U.S. in the last fifteen years, but people are still only beginning to understand how subtle and complex it is,” says Chris Pearce, coordinator of The Joy of Sake and one of 43 certified sake assessors in the world. “Sake-making is undergoing a renaissance in Japan, and this event is the perfect way to experience an incredible variety of styles and techniques.”
This year marks the twelfth year of The Joy of Sake. The event regularly draws a crowd of 1,200 to 1,400 people in Honolulu and has spread to increasingly larger venues in both New York and Tokyo. The Joy of Sake pairs its premium offerings with sake-friendly appetizers from top restaurants. In New York, participating restaurants have included wd~50, Momofuku Ssäm Bar and Má Pêche, Nobu, Bouley, Brushstroke, Bond Street and Sakagura.
The Joy of Sake takes place on Thursday, September 20, 2012 from 6-9pm at The Altman Building at 135 W. 18th Street in Chelsea. Tickets are $90 in advance and $100 at the door, and can be purchased online at www.joyofsake.com or by calling 888.799.7242.