Whether or not you know your junmai-ginjo from your daiginjo, but enjoy the occasional sip of Japan’s finest rice wine, then the Beijing Sake Carnival will be an event not to miss. Generally, all bottles are covered with characters from the Japanese writing system which makes it extremely difficult for non-Japanese speakers to understand, or to learn more about the varieties. The people behind Sake Manzo, the home of some of Beijing’s best Japanese culinary experiences have arranged a special sake festival to give all equal opportunity to taste and discover this exotic beverage.

The Sake Master Taka Yamamoto

Taka Yamamoto, a Sake Master and International Wine Challenge (IWC) Sake Judge is the mastermind behind the 2016 Sake Carnival, and we love him for putting this amazing event together. Over 100 different kinds of tasty Japanese sake will be available to taste at the event, and he’s also arranged for more than ten famous sake makers to attend. Experts in the field of sake making and tasting will be glad to hear that some of the available varieties will include Dassai 23, Saika Magoich, Dai Ginjo, Born Wing, and the 2013 International Wine Challenge Champion, Shotoku Enju Sen’nen among others never before seen in Beijing. Be careful not to taste too much at once or you won’t make it through the amazing selection.

Make Sake

Nonexperts will also be pleased to hear that there will be a crash course on how to make sake, presented by the master himself, Taka Yamamoto. Not only will you learn how to make sake but also how to correctly consume and store it. Keep in mind that in Japan, an expert does not always translate to master, master sushi chefs spend their first few years in a kitchen only washing rice before they’re allowed to make a single piece of sushi, so being taught by this man will surely be something astounding. He’ll do what he can in the time allowed to pass on his years of knowledge, experience and fermented rice induced headaches to you.

Food Options Galore

The event will also be adorned with a Wadaiko performance while delicious Japanese, Chinese, and Western finger food is served. Wadaiko or taiko for short are Japanese percussion instruments or drums that tend to sound like thunder or violent waves crashing which results in some dramatic stage performances that can quickly get the audience excited. Taiko is generally used in Japanese festivals as they create such a lively atmosphere. There is a great history surrounding taikos and in Japan, children learn to play them from an early age. Some studies have even shown that banging away on a taiko can energize the brain, can be mentally refreshing, and even improve your health. Small wonder why it’s used so often at energetic festivals.

Special Deal

Should you visit one of the Sake Manzo locations before the end of June and purchase a bottle of sake, you’ll not only receive a bottle of delicious Japanese wine but also a free ticket to the 2016 Beijing Sake Carnival. It’s not often that purchasing a ticket is so alluring. Alternatively, tickets will be available at the door at RMB 500.

The schedule for the carnival is as follows

Venue: 3rd-floor banquet hall, 21st Century Hotel.
Address: 40 Liang Ma Qiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Date: July 9, 2016
Time: 1PM – 5PM
Contact: 010-6582 5967

Sake Manzo Restaurant
Venue: 1st Floor, 21st Century Hotel, Northeast corner.
Address: 40 Liang Ma Qiao Road, Chaoang District, Beijing
Date: July 9, 2016
Contact: 010-6436 1608

Tuan Jie Hu Restaurant
Address: 8 Tuanjehu Bei Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Behind the number 43 of the bus station.
Contact: 010-6582 8216

Sake Week

Also, TOJIKURA company will join several Chinese and Western Restaurants with Sake Manzo to launch SAKE WEEK from 11th to 17th July, finally, something to rival St. Patrick’s Day. During this time, these restaurants will be serving special sakes not normally available so do not miss this opportunity. For more information or to make a booking, please contact 010-6436 1608.

Sake is a Japanese rice wine made with fermented, polished rice. Instead of adding alcohol by fermenting sugar which is naturally available in grape wine, sake’s brewing process more closely resembles beer as the starch is converted to sugar and then converted to alcohol. Sake is also much stronger than wine and beer, in general, sporting an alcohol content of up to 20%. When having sake in Japan, it’ll normally be accompanied by a special ceremony where the porcelain bottle containing the sake is warmed before serving. The sake is then poured into a small porcelain cup and enjoyed. Sake is Japan’s national drink but be careful when ordering one as the word “sake” in the Japanese language can refer to any alcoholic drink which could lead to some interesting and embarrassing evenings.

You Can Judge a Sake Bottle by the Cover

A sake bottle’s label gives you some indication of what to expect from that particular vintage. Terms like nihonshu-do, san-do, and aminosan-do can all be found on sake bottles. Nihonshu-do is calculated from the specific gravity of the sake and shows how strong it is, or more accurately how much sugar and alcohol is contained. Typically -3 translates to sweet while +10 is very dry. San-do indicates the acid concentration. This number is equal to the milliliters of titrant required to neutralize the acid of 10ml of sake. And finally, Aminosan-do indicates the taste of savouriness. An increase in amino acids means that the sake will have a higher savory taste.

How to Serve Sake

When serving sake, it can be either chilled, room temperature, or heated depending on the season, the drinker’s preference, and the quality of the wine. Generally, hot sake is enjoyed in winter while high-quality sake is never enjoyed hot as some of the flavors are lost. On the flip side, old or low-quality sake is drunk hot as that masks some of the flavors.

To stay updated as to the happenings of Beijing’s Party District and ensure you never miss out on the wild nightlife offered, please remember to download the “Party in Beijing” app, available on Android’s Play Store as well as iTunes. Apart from the Beijing Sake Carnival, this app will also inform you of any major event at night clubs, party hostels, and restaurants.