Sake is one of the few alcohols out there which has largely remained a mystery to western drinkers and hosptiality workers alike. Despite the love we have for the liquid, we're still not confident when talking about Japan's brewing industry - from understanding its production to the way it's consumed. This mystery in a large part comes from the complicated nature of sake itself, which is why this weighty tome from by Elliot Faber and Hayato Hishinuma has achieved no small feat in shinning a light on the stories and craft behind sake.
Beautifully presented, this book is the ultimate guide to understanding not just the liquid but the passion and care which goes into sake production. Starting off with the how, the authors chart through rice types, grades of sake and their unique flavours, from floral notes to orchid fruits and clean textures. While it's not the most techincal book (geeks won't find as of yet unheard information on the details of sake brewing) it does explain sake with a clear authorative voice and comes from a place of genuine love and interest in the subject by the writers.
Following on, the brewery visits then highlight the small producers dotted over Japan's islands, and their brewers who have been handed their skills from previous generations. It's not all sake breweries either, with 10 shochu and five awamori distilleries featured as well, charting from Okinawa all the way to Hokkaido. Stylistically pleasing and containing a wealth of knowledge, Sake is a great read for booze hounds and a beautiful coffee table book to boot.
You can purchase a copy from amazon.