Entrepreneurs and friends Gigi Penna and Xanthe Wetzler are obsessed with sake, but they didn’t want to make their own version of it when Japanese breweries have been making the liquor for centuries.
“Gigi and I are sake fans but we didn’t know the technical details, and we didn’t want to create a sake because there are already so many beautiful ones that are made with love, tradition and honor,” Wetzler explains. “So it wasn’t really up to us to create a new one, but to find one that suited Australian tastes.”
Wetzler and Penna teamed up with Deja Vu Sake importer Yukino Ochiai, where they did some blind tastings. They found the perfect one – clean, gluten-free, additive-free, preservative-free, and made with just three ingredients: rice, water, and koji rice. It is a “junmai” (pure rice) sake, which means that no alcohol has been added; the rice ferments and produces alcohol.
They marked the drink Sake Sake. It is made by the Sekiya Brewery, located in the mountains about halfway between Tokyo and Osaka, where the water is considered some of the softest and purest in Japan.
“For us, the health benefits and making sure it was organic, with no added alcohol, was really important – and that also ensures it’s a premium product” , explains Wetzler.
The importers chose to brand it Sake Sake and create a fun label to help sell it to a wider Australian audience, working with digital artist Jonathan Zawada to design a slightly psychedelic depiction “of the rolling journey our sake takes you to. take”. According to the brand, it’s “a wave of shimmering flavor that combines thousands of years of history with a modernist sensibility.”
Wetzler says that, in addition to pairing well with sushi, the light, floral drink is a treat with fish ‘n’ chips, burgers, salads and ceviche. “Basically anything you pair with a chilled rosé or white wine. Or for a little fun, try a Sake Sake Martini, currently on the menu at Bondi’s Fish Shop, or add yuzu and soda to make a Sake Sake Spritz instead of Aperol and sip it under the sun.
Or, you can just serve it chilled and undiluted.
A single bottle of Sake Sake costs $69 and can be purchased through the brand’s online store or at Fish Shop, Bondi, among a few other retailers. Shipping is $15 in New South Wales.
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