By Will Abner
I am always excited to have the opportunity to talk with someone about pairing a beverage with food. I’m thrilled that someone can trust me to send them in the right direction with their meal. That’s part of the role I play here at SpringHouse. I am always looking for new drinks to add to our arsenal of options to give you, and most recently we’ve added saké. Now, don’t fret! Let me explain this mysterious stuff.
Saké is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made of fermented rice. There are a few different styles and quality levels, but we don’t have to get into specifics with that. It generally has an alcohol content of 15-20 percent, and its flavors can range from sour, floral, fruity, to even earthy. Despite the big, rich foods we are preparing in this colder season, there are some wonderful plates coming out of the kitchen which call for something more delicate and light to pair with them. Saké works wonderfully in this situation.
Similar to wine, I look for qualities like body, weight, texture, acidity, and overall taste profile in the saké to help me choose what to drink it with. Fortunately for me, I have Chef Rob to help create these perfectly paired dishes. One saké that we offer here, Dewatsuru Hihaku, is of premium quality. Wine Spectator describes it as a, “powerful savory style, with roasted and nutty flavors.” And the panel goes on to rate it as “outstanding”. This saké, as most do, pairs best with fish, greens, and vegetables. This seemingly delicate booze has enough strength to go with chicken and even pork, which evokes the more earthy aspects out of the glass.
I find it exciting to see something so… foreign… pair so well with something as southern as collard greens and fried chicken. That’s why I have it on the menu—to make connections, to taste something new, and create a unique experience that breaks away from the mundane.