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Artisan sake is a very natural product. Among the various Sake classifications there is also a naturally cloudy variant Nigori sake, about which we report here.

What is Nigorizake?

Nigorizake (濁り酒) literally means cloudy sake and it is sake that still contains rice ingredients.

Although there is a wide range of nigorizake on the market today, most are creamier and sweeter than clear, regular sake. The color of nigorizake ranges from semi-transparent to milky white, and its textures vary accordingly.

How to make nigorizake

To understand nigorizake, you need to know the process of sake making.

After alcoholic fermentation, the sake mash is poured into a sake bag and squeezed under pressure to separate the sake marc from the liquid. The extracted liquid is then filtered to obtain a clear sake. In nigorizake, the sake mash is pressed through a coarse cloth, leaving the rice particles in the liquid. This sediment, which eventually sinks, gives the sake its cloudy color.

In addition, brewers can also mix a coarsely filtered sake with clear sake to control the degree of turbidity. These sakes can be either slightly cloudy or very cloudy, almost milky. They range in color from almost pure white to light yellow.

Nigorizake can be made at any quality level/category, regardless of the degree of polishing of the rice. However, it is a bit pointless to put rice through the expensive and time-consuming polishing process to produce a sake that is prized for its rustic qualities.

How does nigorizake taste?

Regular sake can be sweet or dry depending on the brand or type, but overall the taste is clean and refreshing. Nigorizake, on the other hand, has a richer flavor and velvety texture, and is often relatively sweet. In addition, some natural cloudiness remains in the sake, giving it an interesting drinking sensation and a unique taste.

How to enjoy nigorizake?

Nigorizake usually has a lees that settles to the bottom of the bottle and appears to be split into two layers with the supernatant. By gently shaking the bottle before drinking, the lees mix to form a milky white color.

Nigorizake is best drunk cold. Always well chilled, Nigorizake is a popular sake that pairs well with international spicy dishes and appeals to those looking for slightly stronger, more direct flavors.

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